new Netflix shows to pay attention to

I have stumbled onto a couple of really engaging Netflix titles. “Turn Up Charlie” stars Idris Elba as a washed up DJ dealing with life. It’s funny, and powerful. “Bodyguard” is a BBC action cop show that I’m fascinated by.

Give them both a watch, see if they click with you.

Try the Brave web browser

I am REALLY liking the Brave browser. It’s basically Chrome without all the spying. It works on Windows, Linux, MacOS, iPhones, and Android. It’s worth a try. Google has made enough money off your quite valuable personal information and online activity.

Mystery Science Theatre 3000

I have been watching some mysterious “collections” of MST3K on Netflix, and after suffering through collections 1 and 2, and starting #3, I have come to the conclusion that the Joel year (or 2) were superior to any of the later years. At first, they were really edgy, and unique. After that, they just got cheesy. It was like going from a real comedian to someone who just tells dad jokes.

Brave Web Browser, all the power of Chrome, without all the spying

I have been using Chrome on my Linux laptop at work, but tonight I installed the Brave browser, and after a few hours, have decided I love it, and as soon as I got home, I made it the default browser on my Mac too. I fully intend to install the iOS version on my phone today too.

Chrome is fast, but Google tracks everything you do. Not just every search you run at Google.com, but every website you visit, every password you save, every link you click. Brave is based on the open-source Chromium browser, same as Chrome (and Apple Safari, Microsoft Edge, Opera – basically everything except Firefox). Most Chrome extensions and themes work with it. I only use 2 extensions, LastPass and Privacy Badger.

I was pleasantly surprised to find a number of websites at work just work faster and better under Brave, compared to Chrome. The Red Hat Jboss Fuse GUI doesn’t log me out after 10 minutes of inactivity anymore. Apparently that was a Chrome “feature” I didn’t know about, stopping JavaScript on backgrounded webpages after a few minutes. I am Pickled Tink!

Welcome to the new Brave browser. Experience a faster, more private and secure browser for PC, Mac and iOS and Android. Block ads and trackers that slow you down, cost you money and invade your privacy. Join the Brave revolution, learn more.

Source: Secure, Fast & Private Web Browser with Adblocker | Brave Browser

Former Mozilla CTO detained at US border and denied a lawyer | ZDNet

The Customs and Border Patrol are seriously out of control, and not only because we elected a corrupt fascist as president, but honestly, that didn’t help any either.

Think about it. How would YOU respond to CBP’s threats of criminal prosecution?

Officers retaliated by telling Gal “that he had no right to an attorney.”CBP agents tried to intimidate Gal. They subsequently continued to ask for Gal’s phone passcode and laptop password multiple times, threatened to confiscate and keep the devices, and tried to intimidate him by claiming he was breaking the law and threatened him with criminal prosecution.

Source: Former Mozilla CTO detained at US border and denied a lawyer | ZDNet

Netflix: Person of Interest

I recall enjoying this show when it first came out, and my interest waned after a few years. Tonight I found the first few seasons on Netflix, and started watching it from S1E1, and man, yes, I recognize why I latched onto it as a fan so many years ago.

In fact, tonight I identified several “new” series on Netflix that I think I’d enjoy, including Turn Up Charlie, starring Idris Elba (who I really enjoyed in Luther), and Lost Girl, which is vaguely reminiscent of Grimm, with supernatural characters trying to hide in plain sight.

Check them out, if you’re inclined.

I was discussing with my wife this morning, the difference betweeen white hats, black hats, and grey hats, particularly as it comes to computer hackers, because that’s the angle I’m most familiar with. Person of Interest features Mr Reese and Mr Finch, who are definitely both “grey hats”. Both operate outside the law, but are basically trying to serve a good purpose. Not all grey hats do that. In fact, I think most grey hats are purely selfish in their actions. They only act to satisfy their own needs. Mr Reese’s need just happens to be to fight “black hats”, but he’s willing to bend the law, murder black hats, injure innocents, even obfuscate the law enforcement people, as long as it allows him to continue to serve the greater good.

Black hats only seem to serve themselves, usually with a goal of making a financial profit. White hats usually only exist to find and defeat the black hats, to find vulnerabilities before than can be widely exploited, as well as vulnerabilities that are being actively exploited, and find the black hats who are exploiting them, and shut them down. There are a whole lot of white hats working to find weaknesses in common computers, and get them fixed before they can be exploited.

I think Hollywood has idealized the “grey hat” character to the extreme. Too many cop shows, such as NCIS, CSI, etc, feature law enforcement who find themselves deep in a grey hat situation, wanting to stop the bad guys, but having to break the law to do it. Hollywood seems to find no problem with that, as long as the ends justify the means, but I find that just too sad.

Consider NCIS’s Jethro Gibbs. He’s fluctuated back and forth between grey and white hat. Usually he’s a “by the book” kind of guy, but when it came to dealing with his wife and child’s murder, they allow him to murder the “evil’ Mexican Drug Lord. They had several episodes about how this decision created a great conflict in his logic, but ended up simply whitewashing the whole thing, and excusing his selfish revenge as “justice”.

In reality, I doubt the end result would have ever been so cut and dried. He should have lost his job, his badge, his reputation, everything, but because it was a popular Hollywood show, they couldn’t justify prosecuting their “star”.

And now we’re dealing with all kind of “rightous” violent people who think they are justified in taking revenge against anyone who has “wronged” them. A whole shitload of Americans believe in conspiracy theories involving the government, and think they are justified in taking individual action. Just look at the whole “pizzagate” thing. And the Waco sadness. None of the offenders were ever “in the right”, but they sure thought they were.

What about all the idiots who still listen to Alex Jones, who made his entire career based on wacko conspiracy theories. Nobody sane believes them, but 10s of thousands of nutjobs believe there is a “deep state conspiracy” that intends to do them harm, regardless of the lack of proof. All it takes is a theory, and a mouthpiece, and idiots who want to believe, will believe.

CBS’s NCIS on Netflix

I’ve started re-watching NCIS Season One on Netflix, and I have to admit, the characters in Season One are so much more appealing than they turned out to become in later seasons. Gibbs has a wry whit that just isn’t present in later seasons, and Tony and Kate are much more combative, and competitive. I’m not sure exactly when the tone of the show changed, but I suspect they became much more conservative around season three, when they became more protective of their characters, to ensure a longer term tv show renewal.

Abby is so edgy in S1, she’s the entire comic relief of the show, basically. McGee was only a minor player in S1, but he’s also a lot more mysterious, and much less fleshed out.

I think I much prefer my TV characters more mysterious, and less tightly defined. American TV shows that get picked up for more than 2-3 seasons, always seem to fall into the trap of trying to explore the depths of each of their characters. This only serves to remove the mystery, and make the characters much less interesting. Either they’re proved to be honest and boring, or corrupt and untrustworthy. I think I prefer my interesting characters to hold more than a few character traits back, and leave more to the imagination of the viewer. Think about Cheers. Sam was a playboy in the first season, and just became a sad loser in later ones.

The first few seasons of NCIS held Gibbs in the highest regard, as a sort of super hero that his younger team could barely understand. Later seasons only pigeon holed him into a “complicated character”, with more than a few flaws. Earlier seasons developed Gibbs’ rules, while later ones treated them as a standard training manual. I find well defined characters much less interesting overall. I prefer shows that ask me to use my imagination when trying to understand their characters.