Zuckerberg’s Stammering, Slurring, Mental Health Video…

Say, did anyone see that video of Facebook’s Zuckerberg? It seems there is one of him circulating the Internet from what we’ve been hearing – getting something like 1.5 million views already.

Is it true, that this person is having some kind of psychotic break and making $100 million poor decisions….?  Is it fake news or true stuff?  If it is true, damn, we feel sorry for the guy and hope he can retire and get some decent mental health.  Those of you out there who are religious should pray for this guy.

 

Well, okay, of course, this is not true.

But. Suppose it were, do you believe Zuckerberg would leave up a deep fake video of him in stupefying health? Hmmm…??? YouTube has pulled fake Nancy Pelosi videos from their platform showing her in states of altered reality. Why hasn’t Facebook yet done so?

Are Giuliani and Trump getting a free pass on the facebook platform by still being there? Giuliani has since deleted his Twitter posting of this. Maybe he saw the light in his childish posting of garbage from someone using Deep Fake techniques (basically altering video) to highly Pelosi in such a state. Besides, why is anyone still paying attention to Giuliani? The man has become something much, much less worthy of anyone’s time since his days as the New York Mayor.

Why is it so difficult for facebook to make a determination to pull the Pelosi videos? Any fake video showing public officials, personas or even us regular Joe’s and Jane’s for malicious gain or to pervert and poison the public opinion of someone else should be immediately pulled. It does not require a 10 person panel to investigate whether the fake video in question is fake – the evidence is in every day news or postings.

Allowing fake videos to circulate is a harmful occurrence with possibly dangerous consequences affecting hundreds of thousands or millions of people in their decision making for whatever is in front of them. This could be anything from health care to military to diplomatic situations. Think about it folks, please!  After you think about this, seriously think about it, extrapolate some present day scenario that starts out as a minor little, local event and out into the future, one that goes horrendously wrong – all due to some fake video meant to dissuade bully or malicious attack someone else… That future ending point could end up costing many lives and a significant amount of money all because someone or some company allowed completely inaccurate portrayals to stay online.

Why is this type of malicious mischief allowed to proliferate on the facebook platform….? Or any other platform – this is some what of a slippery slope but one that we as a people, not just Americans but as global citizens as altered reality, deep fake videos (but check out the new one on the talking/moving head of Mona Lisa – now THIS one is one that should be circulating the ‘Net) and other highly divisive content (video or otherwise) continues to grow.

As one possible answer to this particular problem, I would suggest more fact-checking by multiple “credible” sources to convince nay-sayers (like the anti-VAXes out there) that what they are seeing and hearing is actually true and not fake as some individuals (such as the person sitting in the White House) continuously try to push by means of constant repetition – as if repeating makes it true…. Multiple sources, as I have constantly told people around me and those junior and mid-level Intelligence colleagues I used to work with – that is the best way to ascertain ground truth. Go outside your filter bubble, go into areas that make you uncomfortable but that help you to stretch and grow your own sphere of knowledge – it will help you gleam solid info as to what is true, what is likely/possibly true and what is just wrong.

But YOU, you have to make a conscious and deliberative effort to use that little noggin of yours we call a brain. YOU have to do your own thinking – solid, methodical and logical thinking – not just use a circle of fear inducing, uninformed and conspiracy frenzy feeding group of people.  YOU have to think and make informed decisions. And do not use just one search engines, use multiple search engines so you can at least get multiple, different results…

Maybe then, we can stop some of these fake videos from spreading.

 

 

Trump = NYET!!!

For those who do not know, “Nyet” means ‘No’ in Russian.

The current president in the White House, well, not an individual a fairly large number of us would ever want to protect or give our lives for or share a fox-hole with. However, in doffing our hats to the Secret Service, in protecting the position for whichever person is serving as president – YOU DO AN OUTSTANDING JOB!!!

Now, getting back to the current American president and NYET.

  • N = Not a role model any person alive on the planet would want to emulate. Who in a sane state of mind would willingly emulate a known pathological liar (there are many documented incidents out there and the reason why he is desperately striving to hide his tax and all financial records from ‘anyone’ ever seeing those documents).
  • N = Narcissistic[Okay, okay, okay… I snuck in a second ‘N’ but saying N^2YET or double N,YET does not translate well….] Need we say more – this is beyond the pale in the lengths this individual goes to, to say “Hey, look at me, I am the best there has ever been. We had the largest turnout ever for when I was sworn in. I have had more progress in the first year, no, the first six months of being in office. Everyone loves me, it does not matter that they are all dictators and authoritarian leaders who suppress their own people – why, those leaders control the voters, sorry, the votes by means of controlling the media and military and law enforcement. Those leaders are doing a wonderful job in their countries.” — In the meantime, in as many countries as possible, humanity is trying our best to remove all dictators and authoritarian leaders from office and move to a democratic process – and yes, it includes, China, Russia, Turkey, Iran, Rwanda, Chile, Brunei, Venezuela and more (do not forget N. Korea).
  • Y = Yearning to be even more Narcissistic, to be the one in the spot light even if it means shoving a Prime Minister out of the way in a highly public venue (recall when our president did that to the Prime Minister of Montenegro back in May 2017 at that NATO meeting….?).
  • E = Ethics – well, there ‘APPEARS‘ to be no ethics at all where it concerns this American president. All that ‘SEEMS‘ to matter to this person is whether he can line his pocket with more profits (allegedly of course) or not and how he can put in place more yes men/women who will kowtow to him regardless of what the subject matter is. It could be putting in place people who knowingly vote in favor of this president – without any foresight on their part as to the amount of damage, harm and financial cost will take place as a result of their caving in… Wait, it is also possible these individuals may not care about the future results and only want the instant gratification they gain right now – as willing sycophants
  • T = Transparency – Can anyone in America explicitly and without qualifiers say that this current president is transparent in all matters? In any matter? We have a president who seems to solely embrace obfuscation (i.e. excessive lying), opaqueness, deceit and ever constant misdirection (in our intelligence world, it would be considered a successful misinformation campaign…). 

What is it going to take for Americans to come to their senses and see through whatever facade this president seems to have through up to bedazzle (blind) people to his many negative faults.

This of course is aimed at the many people who blindly follow this president without thinking through the logic. Are these people following the president:

  • through so much delusion because they cannot use logic and think about the strategic benefits of doing certain activities?
  • because these followers want to return to the 1960s and back, where people of a certain ethnicity (we have faith that you can figure out what is being discussed in this bullet) and primarily male had control of everything and suppressed people of color and women and gay folks? Do these followers really want to return darker days of suppression and repression; forcing women into back alley abortions; causing disenfranchised minorities turn to violent means to get the right to vote and be put on the same playing field as others?
  • because the filter bubbles they seem to have been ensnared in is so reinforcing due to its brainwashing effects – that they can no longer see the abundant truth that is out there and easily found (ask the anti-vaxxers who slowly discovered that the anti-vaxxer world is full of deceit and lies)?
  • willing to forego civility and return to barbaric methods to force out people of color and immigrants from America? Originally, this land belonged to people of color (Native Americans and Mexicans) – the land was taken away from its rightful owners by force and forced those people at that time into subjugation as well as bringing over slaves to build “their empire” – please remember that

This country has spent a significant amount of money in slashing successfully working regulations and practices and reverting to older, harmful and damaging practices. We now allow the:

  • oil industry to oversee their own safety program in the ocean drilling zones (think back to the massive oil leak from the ocean floor when the safety valve failed on that drilling rig).
  • energy companies to dump toxic waste into rivers – if you believe this is incorrect, go check out the ‘current’ practices Duke Energy of N. Carolina is able to do now (and keep potash dumps in mind when you do your own research…).
  • Dept of Education to implement programs that are geared towards private schools and vouchers – INSTEAD of focusing on ‘PUBLIC education‘ and improving it to where it should be, ACROSS the board, in all communities, in order to match other countries with better educational programs and successes.

And you know what else that is even scarier?

It is going to take America decades to recover from the wasted efforts and revenue lost in the 2016 – 2020 time frame. From:

  • tracking down and proving all the illegal activities (by this individual and those that this person put in place around him) prior to getting into the White House and since getting there,
  • bad social and economic programs,
  • poor diplomatic relationships with other countries – explicitly our long time allies to poor economic associations with our N. American neighbors and other prospering and suffering countries around the globe.

Think about it, health care, financial reform (in the public / private sectors as well as in politics), economic growth.

And let’s not forget the amount of incivility introduced into the world of politics and public discourse as of 2016 when this president brought gutter level conversation, interaction and thinking with him to the world stage. What sane, forward thinking leader would ever utter the words “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot someone and not lose votes“? The worse of the worse came out of the wood works across America with other bad world leaders uttering the same garbage.

It is going to take us a long time to start bringing civility, where more people care about each other instead of reverting to denying them rights and space. It will take time for growth, for all, to take off again in America.

Do we have time…?  Look at the current lack of progress and thinking on Climate Change in America…. that should be the canary in the coal mine as to the path this country is on… We have a leader that has no path forward with regards to; diplomacy, military superiority in the in the name of peace and not fear, economic prosperity for all and a strategy as to how America and the world can grow – together.

 

Oh! And yes, this is the person that others refer to as the “Orange Man” and other ignominious titles/handles…

Hmmmm, a “possible” Chinese spy caught at Mar-a-lago – really?

So, does this not sound like a diversion tactic to anyone else? Anyone? Anyone….

What spy, with the deep pockets of a nation-state who can afford to have and use highly sophisticated spy craft and all the tools that go along with that – why would one make such a loud ruckus while carting around clumsy tools?

Did anyone notice the other real spy, the quiet one that was able to slip in and out with the better tools while the loud and clumsy “possible” spy was apprehended? Anyone?  Anyone… 

Now, with some hesitation on my part, there may not have been another one (spy, saboteur, whatever…) – that day…

It is just that, the various hats I’ve worn have been making me cringe inside.

My strategic brain is screaming, really, no one is making comments about this being a diversion?

My national security intelligence brain is screaming, come on, why not use an old tried and true ruse to get the better ‘spy’ inside with. i.e.: micro-recording devices, using microwave burst technology – designed to destroy itself after a certain amount of time. And other high tech tools such as bug size recording (audio & visual) devices (not roach size but fly or flea size) at their disposal.

My cyber security brain is screaming – really, bringing in malware on a USB drive (I believe that is what it was if I’m not mistaken). As if this woman was going to get close to a computing device to plug it in – but then again, it is Mar-a-lago, where many people with money and their flock come and go.

So, if there was a spy infiltrating that resort, how do you sweep it? How much manpower do you allocate to sweep? When do you sweep it? Do you allow the president, who with a small brain overrules everyone around who would know better, to continue going to the resort?

Then there are other questions, such as, who else had legitimate access to the resort and turned by greed to perform nefarious deeds. What about individuals who for various reasons were coopted (blackmailed/threatened) to do black deeds at the resort.

There are many, many, many things wrong with this picture and we have an individual sitting in 1600 Pennsylvania Ave who seems to be oblivious to real world activities, needs and demands.

A real spy could have easily gotten access, what is a $250,000 membership to a nation-state actor with deep pockets, over the past couple of years. Hey, the president who did not give up his investments and businesses as he should have, did tell the world, his resort is open for membership and business is booming…

What do we do as a nation for security when the top individual invites the world in the front door.  It is like watching a Vampiric horror movie where the unwitting home owner tells the vampire, sure, come on in for a drink….

Authoritarian Leadership, Quest for Power & Discrimination – China, Russia, Turkey (America?)

This is a food for thought article that will be TL;DR for many out there…

The world of leaders, today – 2019!

Russia, China, Turkey – these are countries that want to and are actively banning dissenting voices. These countries want to control their societies so there are no threats to the government’s strong arm of control over their citizens.

This is when you know leaders of various countries are in trouble. The government starts implementing more control over the press. These governments start controlling what their citizens can say, when they can say it and where they can say anything.

There had been a point in time when I wanted to go visit these countries but that was prior to these control over citizens being put in place. Now, no real desire to do so any longer.

For example, Russia – I’ve written about this in the past, outside of my previous intelligence and cybersecurity work (complete separation between previous work and personal discussions). SORM, its full name is ‘System for Operative Investigative Activities’ and is basically interception of voice and data through all the various networks. It is something Russia implemented in the mid-90s, originating from the FSB (formerly the KGB). This set of regulations under SORM covers everything from credit card transactions, telephone calls, internet activity, etc. And to make it worse, the FSB and the government has been expanding this ever since. If you are an ISP (internet provider), you have to have an FSB compliant box “on your site” that all of your data goes through. Guess what else. All that data goes through an FSB entity in order to archive, cherry pick whatever is needed and to filter what is “not good” for the government, err, Russia. If businesses did not comply and install the device, they were blocked from doing business. Now we have Russia upping the ante and starting to actually block VPNs (virtual private network) who do not agree to censor traffic across/through their VPN system. There are numerous outlets to read up on this, no matter your political stance.

And China, everyone by now is aware of the Great China Firewall.  No matter where you stood in China, everything, everywhere was being filtered AND acted upon to impart the ‘great’ communist party loyalty that everyone must comply with.  Sure, China wants to be capitalistic and make money and be a power house on the world stage. But! China also STILL wants to be a communistic system and FORCE everyone to kowtow to the party line. Look at the Uighurs (Uyghurs or one of the several other ways it is being spelled) – they are being wiped out, systematically. And some would say that they are being wiped out – genocidally. Entire communities of Uighurs have been razed to the ground and replaced with more modern high rises, with many of those Uighurs being placed in “Education” camps, to, ahem, “improve the economic and education levels” of those members. You can also do your own research (which I very highly recommend you do) to find material on what is happening in those Uighur areas – there are also a lot of Uighur refugees in America and other countries. China is becoming like the movie GATTACA where you are tracked at all times and the government knows everything about you…

Turkey, what I can about Erdogan? He is a dictator, clear and through. He is making the country more religious every week. He is trying to still further strengthen his power base and be President for life, outside of the previous term limits. He too is looking to control his people.

The bottom line is that these three countries and others as well, i.e.:

  • Brunei and their new Sharia laws – where gays and adulterers ‘can legally’ be stoned to death
  • Malaysia and their Sharia laws – the government is looking to get tougher on gays there as well and it is already brutal

I happened to latch on to the gay topic above because this is a pet peeve of mine. There are many of us who are very tolerant of people enjoying the lifestyle they believe they want. It is not up to us to control someone else’s personal life – it is none of our business and should be none of yours. It is not harmful to you and please do not insult the rest of us by saying that it creates emotional and mental turmoil and distress – that will not fly. We are grownups (right?) and can handle keeping our noses out of someone else’s personal lifestyle.

But, controlling the people of a country… This has always been a disturbing path to follow. No one wants to engage with or partner with or visit a country where the citizens are dictated to as to:

  • who they in turn can associate with (check out China’s ‘social credit system’) – you can be docked points for the bad people you associate with (or jay walk or spit on the streets or use too much toilet paper) and with enough docked points, you cannot take plane flights anywhere among other things
  • what they can say about their leaders or their government – dissenting voices are knocked down, publicly – in Russia, people are ‘accidentally’ shot down by mysterious forces… or the dissenters can have chemicals thrown into their faces or somehow be ‘legally’ sentenced for tax fraud…
  • where they can go and how many can get together at one time in one area – yeah, Russia and China put size limits and area restrictions on this for their people – and it is worse than the regulations we Americans have to deal with
  • what the people can write, in books, magazines or newspapers – it has to all be glowing lies or B.S. (errr – dang it, sorry, personal content) commentary that those government figures/entities can smile about

No one in the free world wants to part of a society where the leaders only want to gain power, gain more power over time and grab more power – solidifying their choke hold on and over the people of the country. And it goes on. Yet the police and military forces that the leaders control just stand by. There have been instances where the military would step in wrest control from authoritarian leaders and then let the people vote for new leadership AND actually relinquish control to those democratically elected officials.  Now. Now that does not seem to be happening, it is as if the military leaders have become brain dead and, pardon the technical term, stupefied – unless these military leaders have been bought and paid for and these military leaders have no spine or morals or ethic foundation to lead from. It kind of happened in Turkey in 1980 where the military lead the country for several years.

Now don’t get me wrong, America has some kind of leadership issues of our own that is simply baffling to understand. We have our own moral and political compass to correct and our ship really, really needs to be up-righted…

Note: I do not use the term United States any longer due to the fact that we have too much division throughout the country where a sizeable number of people just do not want to see other people in this country gain more power and more equality – those people being discriminated; non-whites, women, immigrants and gays.

This is where it is baffling to me. Instead of coming together as a whole nation and working on solving issues of (small list here):

  • droughts,
  • small towns dying due to young people and others leaving for better opportunities,
  • loss of manufacturing & mining jobs due to technological advances,
  • improving education (as long as the effort does not involve Betsy DeVos – bad choice for that role),
  • improving workplace equality – many, many people know this is wrong and that if a man and a woman are doing the same job and they have the same educational/work experience – it should be a no-brainer that they should be paid equally (however, if one of them is an under-performer, man or woman – that person should be the low earner)
  • having better leaders – this country does NOT need more leaders that only want to have a “good ole boys” club and exclude others (see the discriminated list above) or leaders who want to line their own pockets with ill-gotten gains (ask the congressman who was doing insider trading ON White House property) for themselves and their family and friends

So, where are we headed as a race of humans? Are we headed into a disappointingly dark future of one where leaders continue to gain power and control and lord it over others? Or those leaders who “want” to attempt to gain such power (America – Trump)… Ask:

  • Venezuela’s Maduro if he gets enough to eat or if his people were/are starving during these bleak times there).
  • Russia’s Putin how much money he continues to rake in as possibly the wealthiest ‘voted in’ leader in the world – how does a president become a billionaire (unless they win a huge lottery)? And how much physical force he is going to continue to exert just to remain in power (same goes for Turkey’s Erdogan)?
  • China’s Xi JinPing and his attempts to reach around the eastern hemisphere and gain more power and influence, such as creating man-made islands in the South China Sea (SCS).
  • Or, not to forget – the murder of Khashoggi allegedly under the direction of Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, who, again, allegedly to silence Khashoggi…

We simply have too many people in multiple countries around the world who are somehow blinded (or fooled) by their current leader as to how really beneficial that leader is, for everyone…

What kind of future do you want to see? One where medical care is available to everyone, regardless of their social economical stance in society? One where children can go to public schools with decent and up to date system to enhance learning (books that do not have whitewashed history and technological tools) or colleges where students of all levels can get in without bribery? One where needed medicine costs a paycheck?

I am not talking about a Utopian society, just one that makes sense – where people treat each other with civility and common courtesy rather than those full of greed and low moral compasses who want to step on the backs of everyone else, just to gain a 3 second advantage at any cost. Look at the current president of America, where that individual believes that others should abide by the law, yet, yet – he should be excluded from such plebeian exercises…

We should be building upon progressive and liberal platforms that were starting to take root, platforms that also had some conservatism in them. Platforms that were and are socialist as well, which many people seem to forget and just take for granted; socialist programs such as fire departments – they help everyone. Same as with police departments and school systems and hospitals – do people really want to return to the dark days of when they were not? We live in a new time, not the old days of the pathetic class system of race, gender and money – we live in a time that should be about inclusion and growth.

Leaders have to help people and help people grow together – not be authoritarian leaders who want to control every aspect of your life; from the people you associate with, to the religion you practice (for those who believe in that higher power), to even what kind of music you can hear and what kind of movie you can watch (these leaders want to protect your soul and moral compass, right….). What is wrong with helping others to grow? Absolutely nothing at all, it should be an enriching event for everyone.

Go and check out Eli Pariser’s book – The Filter Bubble. You don’t have to read the entire book, just the first few chapters and you will have a better understanding of the filter bubble so many people find themselves. If only we could get more people out of their highly restricting personal filter bubbles and expand their enclosed ‘worldscape’, we might grow better and faster as a global community.

 

 

Give the President the $5.7 Billion and Let Him Stew On It Not Being Enough…

Hmmmmm, after seeing this drag on and on and ON AND ON….. we may as well just take that $5.7Bn out of White House reserve or travel or entertainment funds (something close to the White House, rather than from other areas that need it such as Puerto Rico) and let this current Presidential office holder have the money.

And no more.

Why did I say that last line there, well, because $5.7 bn will not go very far in building a wall, a fence, a barrier, a striated blockage whatever he deems to call it.

That small amount will only put up a VERY small portion of any kind of fence. There are many, many other cost factors to consider:

  • Contractor total cost, not just what the initial bid is for
  • Materials – concrete, steel, iron, electronics, sensors
  • Time – this ALWAYS increases – significantly in some geometric fashion
  • Lining the pockets of some buddies of whomever…

So, yes, cost overruns will just take off because of all the hands in the pot and this current presidential office holder just wants to state that he, and he alone, obtained the money from congress AND the American public to pay for a ‘wall’.

The problem is, that money will be a waste. Why? Because smugglers and people who come across the border illegally will build tunnels or use ropes to cross the fence – before the border patrol can arrive, in many cases, to catch them. The amount of captures/stoppages is paltry compared to what is interdicted at ports of entries.

The wall is not enough. That amount of money is not enough, it will be a waste but the problem is, this current office holder in the White House will continue to throw a temper tantrum until he gets his baby rattle, errr, his way.

So, sure, give him that $5.7 bn ONLY, no more, then, “if” and I mean a BIG “IF” he is still in the White House, he will truly (said with a bit of tongue in cheek there due to his level of intellect) discover that that $5.7 bn is a drop in the bucket – and a wall is not sufficient, nor will its efficacy be enough – better technology to aid the border patrol members is what is needed…

Me wife and I were discussing this last night and I have to agree with her. Too many people are suffering (financially, mentally and even physically) because of Trump. While we are in a shut down mode, it means (not if) that we have;

  • terrorist issues that could be missed
  • oversight of fraud in multiple areas of the American economy is missed
  • food and drug mishaps will occur because of furloughed staff and
  • etc., etc., you get the drift of this

We are simply starting to lose too much employee integrity, employee health, government AND corporate stability and the ripple effect is spreading to more and more areas of the American economy – costing us more and more revenue losses and the integrity of the American psyche.

Lastly, I am willing to bet that trump does not know where the moniker of “make america great again” originated – Ronald Reagan’s campaign…)

Cloudacademy New Musical Intro – FOR EVERY BLOODY LESSON!

Warning, this is TL;DR material who do not wish to spend time reading.

UPDATE: Feb 17, 2019: Hmmm, it appears they ‘did’ modify that, what, 10 second musical intro to only play at the beginning of each section of a course rather than at the beginning of each lesson. However, if your course has 20-30 sections, it can still be highly, highly annoying and irritating. They would be better off making it a setting for customers to disable at their leisure, instead of being forced into listening to for each section (some of you may like that but the rest of us do not)… You try listening to these lessons with ear buds on when you’re away from home and on your laptop or tablet – and you forgot to mute the volume for the next new course section. See how well you like it when that blaring musical intro hits your ear drums (hint: it is ‘not’ at a lower volume)…

Feb 7, 2019: Okay, those irritating musical intros (maybe not for everyone but many of us do not want them) – they are still there, for “for-every-blasted-lesson“. And there is no option for us to disable them or turn them off. For me personally, there are other companies out there to gravitate to that I have already recommended to members of my various circles. Oh well, maybe a drop in membership will correct that but it may be too late in losing me and others in my circles as customers. See, the primary gist of the matter is that CloudAcademy believes it to be a very nice gimmicky action to promote their company. But, this specific item is promoting the company in the wrong direction…

Jan 23, 2019: Well, let me correct that last update. Recently, I went back in to do more studying (as if it ever stops) and imagine my surprise (horror) to see that each lesson of each course was back to playing that musical interlude, again!!!! Very annoying – I had to reach out to them in reply to one of their emails to say “Hey, after running into these constant musical interludes, I may “NOT” be returning to this site and making recommendations to my circles; cyber security peers, cloud engineers/developers and CIOsof ‘not’ using these courses with these multiple useless, musical, advertising distractions…

UPDATE: Oct 28, 2018 it seems that one of two things occurred: a) cloudacademy removed that annoying musical intro for every lesson, for everyone or b) they turned it off for my account only…?? not sure which but I am a much happier camper, especially having to also deal with Verizon FiOS issues I had to finally write about and publish {we should not be getting pixelation & drop outs over fiber, especially for 980 Mbps line speeds}.

Well, I have seen and heard some pretty annoying and distasteful things in the past, especially on the telly where you get this “annoying”, “unwanted”, “so-called musical intros” – the kind of thing that makes people change channels as fast as possible or leave the room.

Which then puts the individual into a negative state of mind so as to:

a) stop watching / listening

b) stop recommending something to friends and loved ones

Well, much as it pains me to say so, Cloudacademy.com has gone into that category. Originally, I was going to do this blog in all red but did not want to have any readers suffer…

Not sure why Cloudacademy.com thought these cute, wonderful, musical interludes were going to be a winner for them as a marketing ploy/brand. It’s not. Even if it is “only about 5-7 seconds” – it is unwanted.

When I heard it for the first time, after they went live recently – I about jumped out of my chair. And my laptop volume was not turned up loud – that music simply OPENED. UP. LOUD. as a FRIGGIN’ DEFAULT!!!! So now, whenever I start a lesson, I have to make sure that the FRACKING (replace the letters RA with U [have to be politically correct you see]) volume is turned off. FOR EVERY LESSON!!!!  Yes, I am teed off, can you tell…? This is, for me, primarily in the AWS courses but the musical intro is in other platforms as well as I checked a few (Google, Azure, etc.).

WE. DO. NOT. NEED. THAT. INTRO. MUSIC. ON. EVERY. BLASTED. LESSON!!!!

And, you cannot pause it to turn the volume down.

AND, you cannot skip it, aaaarrrrggghhhhh…….

 

Okay, I’m back – I had to calm down for a bit.  Yep, that is how aggravating it is…  NO MUSICAL INTROS, return to that state.

In the meantime, it seems I am just going to have to step away from this site and simply use competitor sites until cloudacademy returns to silent lesson intros…  That is all we want, some quality content, decent instructors, content that is thorough AND timely that we can focus on – WITHOUT this cute new musical intro in EVERY. BLASTED. LESSON!!!!

If not, I’ll just stop using them and recommend to my networks and acquaintances to go elsewhere. Easy.

Not quite sure how many other users out there like that musical intro – cloudacademy should do a poll to find out about it…

 

Note: This all originated Sunday / Mon (Oct 22nd) when I wrote to their tech support with the following:

In attempting to go over some course material, nothing plays in firefox!!!! That ‘NEW’ very annoying cloudacademy lead in on EVERY. SINGLE. COURSE. plays for sure but then we get a rectangle at the top left corner of a dark video screen and then nothing.
I have logged off and on the course.
I have gone to other courses on the site – same problem.
I have gone to other sites and their material works….
On cloudacademy, we get that white outlined rectangle in the upper left corner of a dark screen, then the title page of whatever course we are looking at and that is where it stops. The title has a gray tint to it but no controls to do anything….

One of their tech support responded & stated he could not replicate it. So I did more digging (being a very long time IT person myself) – I figured, hmmm, it might be firefox since it works well in chrome & IE (the annoying music still played as well).

But today, I saw that firefox has a new update, ver 63 – so, again – I figured I’d update that browser.

It did resolve the non-playing, grayness and lack of video controls but it is still acting up. It is not firefox or my laptop (alienware, i7-7820 / 16 GB DDR4 RAM / 8 GB GDDR5 video  Win 10 pro and an SSD).  As you hover over a course to play, that desired lesson starts blanking out and then fluctuating (you have to either refresh the page or kill the tab). This only occurs with firefox – so some setting was tweaked at cloudacademy that pertains to firefox but not to other browsers. Nope, not going back to cloudacademy with my findings, I can do without the aggravation.

This is now a moot point for me, I likely won’t be on the site until they get rid of that musical intro for every lesson…

 

Troubleshoot Microphone Errors in Rosetta Stone – Brown University

Troubleshoot Microphone Errors in Rosetta Stone by Stephanie Obodda 2018-07-04

— Brown University

Hmmmm, I was attempting to aid students/folks who have problems getting their head sets with microphones to work properly by adding a compliment for Stephanie & the CIS IT Support team posting Stephanie’s article and including what kind of head set I use for Rosetta Stone.  But it may take a day or two (or a few…) before it is visible, if it appears at all – there are 0 comments on the site.

The article is @: https://ithelp.brown.edu/kb/articles/troubleshoot-microphone-errors-in-rosetta-stone

The school (or author) provides a list of head sets:

 List of recommended headsets: Altec Lansing AHS302i, Andrea Electronics NC‐7100, Califone 3066‐USB, Logitech USB 350, Logitech USB 250, Logitech ClearChat Pro USB, Logitech H330, Logitech Premium Notebook Headset, Logitech ClearChat Comfort USB, Microsoft LifeChat LX‐3000, Plantronics DSP‐400, Plantronics DSP‐500, Plantronics Audio 500, Plantronics Audio 470, Plantronics Audio 645, Plantronics Audio 655, VXI Talk Pro USB‐100, VXI Talk Pro USB‐200

Note: Rosetta Stone also provides more information about their Recommended Headset Microphones and Vendors

 (I had to write another comment on the site “if” it gets posted to inform them that the link of “Recommended Headset Microphones and Vendors” they provide to students is an old, dead link that no one verified…)

My additional info is that VTIN HC head sets with microphone also work successfully – it is a head set with a 3.5 mm jack that plugs into:

a) a connector with a USB connection on it for PC use or

b) smart phones / tablets via the 3.5mm jack without that connector piece

The VTIN HC head set, even though it is not one of the ‘recommended head sets’ above, works for me for Russian and Chinese language refreshers on my PC.