Two weeks ago, my desire to ride on the roads evaporated — poof! Yesterday was a little cool and I felt inclined to ride my bike at a new trails park that our city had constructed with a lot of volunteer help. Just a couple of miles away, I rode out there. It had four trails of varying difficulty, some loops and some out-n-back. Together they could offer almost 5 miles of trail. None of them were that tough for me, even with the bike set up for street riding and it was a decent workout. The best part was getting a good look at the last portion of Soldier Creek where it runs into Crutcho Creek; the trails hug the creeks.
On the way home, I knew that it was about time to convert the bike back to trail riding. I’ll be stripping off the street accessories and putting the knobbies back on the rims. There aren’t all that many places to ride in the summer heat, but that trail I tested yesterday will do fine if I get out there early enough in the day. Still, I’ll be walking more than riding in the near future.
Yesterday I decided to upgrade my laptop to the recently released Debian 9. It appears to work a little better than anything else so far on that hardware, but nothing will ever be perfect. Still, I have far more trust in Debian than just about anything, despite the lack of consumer-grade polish and automation. Debian is a massive volunteer project with a firm commitment to what they do best. Whatever happens in this crazy world, I’m convinced Debian would be the last Linux distribution still standing.
Over the past year or so, I’ve experienced some networking hassles. First it was my ISP’s crappy DNS service. I know that Google will snoop on everything I do, but their free DNS service is about the best there is. Yet I was still facing network blockage on some sites I visit, and I’m convinced it’s not just random. So I’ve been experimenting with browsers that offer ways to bypass such things.
Opera has a built-in proxy that can help to speed things up for some folks. They call it “turbo” and it’s mostly about the speed, but it works as a proxy. There is also a built-in VPN option, but that isn’t about speed; it pushes your activity through Canada and changes the response you get from sites that filter for different jurisdictions. Canada is recognized as network neutral on most things. However, Opera has always had one flaw: A lot of the captcha stuff doesn’t work properly.
So I also tested the Tor Browser. Routing your surfing through Tor is the ultimate VPN/proxy. I’ll tell you that it’s a little slower than a direct connection, but it’s very hard for anyone to know where you are and who you are when you go through Tor. As I expected, my ISP blocks direct connections to Tor, so I had to look up the “bridging” option that comes with the Tor Browser. This is where you pay a visit to the Tor site and request a bridge link (3 IP addresses) to act as a proxy. The Tor Browser cloaks it’s requests through these bridge sites and hides it from your ISP. I don’t use the Tor Browser a lot right now, but it’s handy to have for things you know are going to raise eyebrows.
We should expect to see more of that kind of general need to work around snooping. The US is long past the day when innocence was enough; the paranoia of bureaucracies treats us all as threats, and accepts no evidence of innocence. As time goes on, sneaking will be routine, required just to read your own local news or clean out your spam box. A mark of the rising Networked Civilization will be the elevation of the social geek factor — you’ll need a good bit of technical expertise and savvy just to live in this world. For those who’ve read The Dosadai Experiment, it’s just a little bit of that.
One final prophetic note: God’s wrath rests on the US and things will go downhill. Part of that is, if we do not surrender our imperialist arrogance, it will be crushed. Our military will soon prove it is no longer the biggest and baddest on the planet. That day may come very soon. I still believe our plutocrats are determined to take over a chunk of Syria and this will be exceedingly expensive in military terms. Most of what the Pentagon says about their activities there is a lie.
So when we shot down that Syrian jet yesterday? The Pentagon lied about why. Syria didn’t hit the Kurds we are sponsoring; Syria was hitting ISIS. It’s the worst kept secret that we created ISIS and keep it alive so we have an excuse to stick our nose into the Middle East. Syria was cutting off the escape route for ISIS troops to leave Raqqa and concentrate forces around Deir Ezzor. The situation has come to the point where Russia will get directly involved against the US. Whatever their actual capabilities, Russia doesn’t bluster like the US does.
I can’t say how the details will turn out, but in the long run, God will use this friction as part of His destruction of the US. Keep your eye on the longer term wrath of God. That said, I tend to think some major surprises are right on top of us, starting this week.