Friday, July 19, 2019

How Private are Private Conversations?

Ever wonder if your computer is listening to what you say? It just might be.

A little while ago I was about to go outside to mulch the garden with grass clippings. But before I did, I told Ralph I was going to find a dust mask to wear. Last night, I had trouble breathing because I didn't wear a dust mask yesterday while raking and I didn't want to experience that feeling again.

I knew we had dust masks somewhere in the house but wasn't sure where so Ralph and I discussed possible spots.

Long story short, I found the mask, did my mulching and went for a swim. When I was done, I came inside and checked Facebook. And what did I see?

You guessed it! An ad for dust masks.

Coincidence? I think not! I don't have Alexa or Siri or any other electronic helper but what I do have is a microphone on my laptop. It seemed obvious to me that my conversations were being overheard.

Solution? Turn off the computer's microphone. Go to SETTINGS. Type in MICROPHONE PRIVACY SETTINGS. Turn OFF microphone. It's that easy.

Seriously, I don't really mind having ads targeted to my shopping needs but the whole overhearing my private, personal conversation bit in order to decipher my purchase interests is just a little too much BIG BROTHER for me.

If you feel the same, try disconnecting your microphone too. The switch works both ways - ON and OFF.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Message to a Tailgater

If you’re in a hurry
Pass me
Go on
Speed on down this two-lane road

I won’t be pushed
To push the pedal
I’m driving along
At a comfortable pace

It’s not a race
To get somewhere faster
I'm not after anything other
Than a safe arrival
At my own destination

That’s not entirely true...
I’m also very much
Enjoying the view
Did you even notice
That field of phlox
We just passed by?
Or the red-tailed hawk
In the cloud-filled sky?

I bet you missed them
In your rage and frustration
At my slower pace
And obligation 
To obey the speed limit

If you want to go faster
Then pass, sir
A dotted line says it's fine
To get in front of me
Feel free 
To get off my tail
With your preoccupation
Of using a car
For intimidation

At last, you’ve done it
Were it a race
You’ve won it

And with you now gone
I can drive on
Minus the bully or rush
Although, sadly, driver
As the distance between us grows wider
I know you are missing so much