Dancing with the racists

by Christie on May 30, 2018 at 1:30pm

Another day, another claim of racism against a Maori. This time, it was Marama Fox, who was voted off Dancing With the Stars in a dance-off elimination between her and former cricketer, Chris Harris.

That wasn’t the complaint, of course. The complaint is that she wasn’t the worst dancer; that there were poorer dancers than her, and that she shouldn’t have been voted off because she is a Maori.

Or something like that.


This from Tau Henare on Twitter, echoing a lot of similar sentiments about Marama’s efforts. Quote.

Fucken rigged, Seymour stays. Hashtag Racist that’s what it is, the white guy falls over f.f.s Seymour was worse. Hashtag Bullshit Hashtag D.W.T.S It’s worse than Hashtag Karius’ screw up End of quote.

Tau Henare should know better than this. The language, the claims of racism are all completely unbecoming of a former Minister.

So, I could claim he is being racist because he is picking on David Seymour. But, of course, it isn’t racism if it is levelled against a white guy. And do remember that if the other white guy, Chris Harris, had been voted off instead of Marama, then there would have been no complaint. This is why we will never move forward in this country until we stop having these stupid claims that everything is rigged against Maori.

For the record, here is what happens on these ‘reality TV’ shows.

The show is not about dancing. It is about ‘watchable’ TV. The intention is to provide surprises, shocks, tears, happy moments, sad moments. If it was entirely predictable, a lot of people would not watch or would give up fairly quickly. So, the outcomes have to be, at times, unexpected. That is what ‘reality TV’ is all about.

Remember, there is also a public voting element in this show too. It enables some vote rigging, even though that is not the way it is supposed to work. Maybe David Seymour has bigger public support than Marama Fox. Who knows? Does it really matter?

So, although there is a crew of competent dancers still left on the show, it always pays to keep a few duds on the go, so they can do unpredictable things. Remember Rodney Hide dropping his partner? That is the sort of thing they actually WANT on these shows. This is not ‘Come Dancing’ where genuinely skilful dancers compete against each other. This is reality TV. Let’s not take it all quite so seriously.

A good dancer will win the show, and everyone will be happy. But in the meantime, the show has to provide a few shocks along the way, to keep the audience interested. It is not white versus black. It is not male versus female. It is reality TV.

Just for the record, I DON’T watch this show. I caught the last 10 minutes of it and saw all the drama. Frankly, I thought Marama was average. She has a big personality and put on a good show, but her dancing is ordinary. I never thought that there would be a backlash of racism claims just because she was voted off. It was always going to happen at some point.

David Seymour won’t win it either. He’s being kept on at the moment for the extra entertainment that he might provide with some serious slip-ups, but he won’t last long. Soon, they will be at the business end of the tournament and will have to start at least pretending to care about the dancing.

But here we are. Another day, another claim of racism. Even where no racism exists.

Mike Hosking: Phil Twyford’s coming across as a knob

Poor old Phil Twyford had quite the week last week. He’s replacing Clare Curran as the minister most likely to get sacked.

In the early days, I was one of the few pointing out that the KiwiBuild program was a farce if not a fraud. The numbers didn’t add up, didn’t come close to adding up. Six months on, I am now one of many who sees this as the charade it was always was.

If you follow the story, you’ll find no shortage these days of commentary from those who have crunched the numbers, seen the shift in the promises, the change in the language, and have come to the inevitable conclusion that this is the policy that might ultimately bring the Government done.

Why? It’s their biggest promise, and it’s been run by a bloke who is a liability

Phone calls on planes goes to personality. It takes a type of person to conduct himself in that fashion, there is a flagrant arrogance about it, a disagreeable self-importance.

He damaged himself further by referring to the ‘kids’ in treasury. The same personality type applies to that level of condescension.

Neither of the offences leads to hanging, but they are a clue, a red flag. What treasury was saying is true; Twyford’s number have had the look of snake oil about them the whole time.

100,000 houses magicked up over 10 years using the same small pot of money over and over. The affordable figure isn’t even remotely affordable, and a figure that’s going up, making it even less affordable

The Government buying stakes in houses, using money they were going to build with because no one’s got the coin to buy them by themselves. No real acknowledgement that the construction sector’s overworked before Phil’s houses even get started, against a backdrop of a promise of 30,000 cut in immigration.

It’s been smokes and mirrors, a classic piece of political puffery dreamt up in an election campaign to fool the economically naive to think a  government can manipulate as large as housing markets with money they don’t have and labour they don’t have with prices they pulled out of a cornflakes packet. The Commerce Commission should be looking at it for fraud.

And the trouble with it all is apart from the fundamentals is the politic bit.  Policies need to be sold. Now, you can’t fault Phil for enthusiasm, but you can fault him for fact, for approach, for attitude, and it’s the attitude, the phone calls, the insults, the telling offs from the leader, that make a virtually impossible job even harder because he’s coming across as a knob.

And the Government can’t afford it’s biggest bit of work to be run a ruin by the sort of bloke who’s fast becoming the most disagreeable man in politics

If you do the work, you reap the rewards

by Cameron Slater on May 28, 2018 at 8:30am

Judith Collins is now registering in the preferred PM statistics. It should be expected, she’s about the only opposition MP actually doing the work that people expect from opposition MPs: Quote:

Prime Minister Judith Collins – how do those four words strung together make you feel? For 3.7 percent of New Zealanders, it feels pretty good.

Because for the first time ever, Ms Collins has registered in our Newshub-Reid Research poll as a candidate for preferred Prime Minister.   

If those four words made you shudder, fret not – Jacinda Ardern is still ranking stratospherically on 40.2 percent.

However, Ms Collins is ranking higher than Ms Ardern did when she first appeared as a preferred Prime Minister in 2015. Back then, Ms Ardern debuted at 3.5 percent.

Ms Collins insists she no longer harbours her extreme leadership ambitions of the past, and is “very happy doing what I’m doing and I’m very supportive of our leader Simon Bridges”.

“I’m not interested in rolling anyone or doing anything other than my job,” says Ms Collins.

But this is dire news for the actual leader of the National Party, Simon Bridges – his preferred Prime Minister ranking is just 9 percent.

That pales next to John Key and Bill English when they first took over as National leaders. Mr Key was on 24 percent and Mr English on 25 percent.

Mr Bridges says he isn’t fazed, telling Newshub “it’s early days – I’m just starting to get out and about”.

He is saved by the fact his party remains steady. If that starts to fall, he’s in trouble. End quote.

Judith is doing the work, and more importantly, she is taking scalps. That is how you go up in polls. Not swanning around visiting the provinces you neglected when in power.

23 Twyford hit by fresh allegations

By Cameron Slater on May 26, 2018 at 8:00am

Credit: Luke

Phil Twyford continues to be clubbed by Judith Collins, who has levelled fresh allegations of his arrogant and entitled behaviour on aircraft: Quote:

National MP Judith Collins says Transport Minister Phil Twyford stood up on a plane while the seatbelt sign was on to put his jacket in an overhead locker.

It was during the same flight that Twyford made a phone call after the plane’s doors had been closed, Collins said, citing an informant.

Twyford was relieved of his responsibility for the Civil Aviation Authority after he admitted he made a made a phone call on the Air New Zealand plane, which was still on the tarmac at Wellington.

Standing up while the seatbelt sign is lit, and using a mobile phone after the plane doors are closed are both in breach of CAA rules.

Twyford apologised and offered his resignation to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as Transport Minister after Collins put questions to him about the incident on May 17.

Collins said today she had been told about both incidents by the same member of the public.

“The same informant told me that following Phil’s phone call, he got up and took his jacket off and put it up in the luggage compartment when the plane was taxiing,” she said.

Comment was being sought from Twyford on the latest allegation.

Following Twyford’s admission yesterday, Ardern said she was disappointed, and expected all her ministers to act in accordance with the rules.  End quote

Isn’t it time Ardern sacked a minister?

Judith Collins is showing how you nobble a minister – death by a thousand cuts. Phil Twyford must loathe question time by now as each day he is pummelled by Judith Collins and Jami-Lee Ross.

The pressure is building on the vainglorious minister. Something is going to pop.

The funny thing about all of this is Phil Twyford’s own comments when Gerry Brownlee broke CAA rules: Quote:

Labour transport spokesperson Phil Twyford said John Key had been too quick off the mark in deciding not to accept Mr Brownlee’s resignation and should have waited for the outcome of the CAA investigation.

“The Prime Minister did say that he was going to hold National Party ministers to a higher standard of accountability, so I would have hoped that the prime minister would have waited for the facts to be on the table about what regulations Mr Brownlee might have breached.”

Mr Twyford said it was important Mr Brownlee was held to account, and pointed to the prosecution of John Banks when he was Police Minister for using his cellphone during a flight.

Well I think it’s very important, for the public, that politicians are seen not just to make the laws but to follow them, as well, and that’s a pretty fundamental principle of our democracy.” End quote.

Let’s hope that Mr Twyford will be held to the same standards he expected Gerry Brownlee to be held to. I am also waiting for comment from the PSA, who also climbed into the Gerry Brownlee issue, saying: Quote:

PSA acting national secretary Glen Barclay said staff were put in a difficult position when a minister requested or demanded help.

“It raises some questions about how the role that people with influence may have in shortcutting our aviation security systems. So it may well be worth looking at the wider issues here and not just the narrow legal one, to see what the outcomes should be.” End quote.

So far there is silence from the PSA about Phil Twyford breaking CAA rules and regulations.

Twyford’s arrogance was always going to get him in trouble, and so it has come to pass. Now if only we had a prime minister whose actions matched her rhetoric.

How long before we see this pushed in NZ?

by Cameron Slater on May 27, 2018 at 10:30am

I’ve warned the food industry here for years, they’ve ignored me. But like night follows day the health wowsers never relent. They have followed the anti-tobacco playbook to the letter for fat, sugar, salt and anything else they want to control.

Now they are pushing for warning labels on food: Quote:

An image of a damaged human heart covered in yellowish fat from too much junk food would turn people off eating unhealthy fried chips and burgers, a study has found.

Health experts say it’s time for junk foods to carry graphic warnings like cigarette packets do, to combat the obesity epidemic.  

A University of Melbourne and Cancer Council Victoria study, published on Thursday, found the use of graphic warnings – like a decayed tooth or fatty heart – on unhealthy food was an effective tool in improving a person’s diet.

For the study, 95 hungry participants were shown colour pictures of 50 different snack foods ranging from chips, chocolate bars and biscuits to nuts, fruits and vegetables.

They were asked to rate on a scale how much they would like to eat each food at the end of the experiment.

Participants were then shown a number of different health warnings and asked to rate a similar set of 50 snack foods.

The research, published in the journal NeuroImage: Clinical and Appetite, found negative text combined with images was twice as effective at changing people’s choices than messages that had negative text-only content or those with images combined with positive text.

In addition, participants’ brain activity was monitored with electrodes attached to their heads.

This showed the warning labels prompted participants to exercise more self-control rather than act on impulse.

“The study shows that if you want to stop people choosing fatty and sugary packaged foods, health warnings actually work,” said study co-author, Dr Stefan Bode.

“It sheds light on the mechanisms in the brain that underlie the effects of health warning messages on food processing,” Dr Bode said.

Cancer Council Victoria behavioural researcher Dr Helen Dixon says the graphic images work because they “disrupt” the strong cues – like taste – that images of junk foods elicit.

This then allows a person to consciously consider the health implications of their food choices, she explained.

Obesity Policy Coalition executive director Jane Martin says the use of packaging should be used for good, not for bad.

“This research demonstrates that powerful, relevant information on food packaging can influence people and push them away from junk food,” said Ms Martin.

“Poor diets and being above a healthy weight are risk factors for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. To address this Australia needs a comprehensive strategy, which should consider improved labelling,” she said.

The public health advocates have called on the government to make the graphic labelling mandatory, as part of the revised Health Star Rating System. End quote.

I reckon a fat bastard tax would be more effective. These public health officials are the most miserable, conceited pricks I’ve ever had the displeasure of engaging with.

I bet their cupboards are stuffed with stale cruskits.

Mark my words, the public health lobbyists will be into this like a robbers dog.

Got him! Judith nails Twyford

by Cameron Slater on May 25, 2018 at 8:00am

Credit: Luke

Judith Collins has Phil Twyford’s head on a pike. Radio NZ reports: Quote:

Transport Minister Phil Twyford has been stripped of some of his responsibilities after making a phone call on a plane after the aircraft doors had shut.

Mr Twyford offered his resignation to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Thursday, but she declined the offer.

“I made a mistake and I clearly wasn’t thinking straight at the time – and I recognise that. It was unacceptable and I apologise unreservedly.”

Mr Twyford made a one minute phone call to one of his staff while on a plane preparing for take off from Wellington airport on 17 May, he said.

The plane’s doors had shut.

“It was a breach of the Civil Aviation rules,” Mr Twyford said. “That’s unacceptable.”

“It’s particularly inappropriate for a Minister of Transport to do that.

“I clearly at the time thought it was an important matter, but in hindsight it doesn’t excuse or justify breaking the rules.”

Ms Ardern declined his resignation offer, but instead stripped Mr Twyford of his oversight of the Civil Aviation Authority.

Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter would take over those responsibilities.

“I have referred the matter to the Civil Aviation Authority who will follow whatever processes they deem appropriate,” Mr Twyford said.

In a statement, Ms Ardern said she expected all her ministers to act in accordance with the rules.

“As Transport Minister, it is even more important that Phil abides by civil aviation laws.

“It isn’t appropriate for him to have responsibility for the Civil Aviation Authority in the event that it investigates this incident”. End quote.

How did this all unfold? Quote:

The story came to light after National transport spokesperson Judith Collins lodged a written question about the incident.

But Mr Twyford said he hadn’t deliberately kept quiet about it.

“I literally hadn’t given it any thought from the moment that it happened and I regret that. As soon as it was brought to my attention, we sought to put it right.”

Ms Collins said she’d been notified of the incident by a member of the public and so lodged a question about it.

She said she thought Mr Twyford had done the right thing in offering his resignation.

“It’s entirely appropriate – you might recall Gerry Brownlee had Transport taken off him when he had breached rules around civil aviation as well.” End quote.

Not just a question, lots of questions, lodged today, with lots of specific details leaving Twyford with no wriggle room:

11233 (2018). Hon Judith Collins to the Minister of Housing and Urban Development

Was he on flight NZ460 from Wellington to Auckland on 17 May 2018?

11231 (2018). Hon Judith Collins to the Minister of Housing and Urban Development

If he was on flight NZ460 on 17 May 2018, was he travelling for ministerial purposes?

11230 (2018). Hon Judith Collins to the Minister of Housing and Urban Development

If he was on flight NZ460 on 17 May 2018, was anyone from his Ministerial office sitting with him?

11229 (2018). Hon Judith Collins to the Minister of Housing and Urban Development

If he was on flight NZ460 on 17 May 2018, did he make or receive any phone calls when he was on the plane?

11228 (2018). Hon Judith Collins to the Minister of Housing and Urban Development

If he was on flight NZ460 on 17 May 2018, did he make or receive any phone calls when the door of the plane was shut?

11227 (2018). Hon Judith Collins to the Minister of Housing and Urban Development

If he was on flight NZ460 on 17 May 2018, did he make or receive any phone calls when the plane was in motion and reversing?

11226 (2018). Hon Judith Collins to the Minister of Housing and Urban Development

If he was on flight NZ460 on 17 May 2018, did he make or receive any phone calls while the plane was taxiing?

11225 (2018). Hon Judith Collins to the Minister of Housing and Urban Development

If he was on flight NZ460 on 17 May 2018, did he make or receive any phone calls after the safety video had commenced?

11224 (2018). Hon Judith Collins to the Minister of Housing and Urban Development

If he was on flight NZ460 on 17 May 2018, did he make or receive any phone calls during the safety video?

11223 (2018). Hon Judith Collins to the Minister of Housing and Urban Development

If he was on flight NZ460 on 17 May 2018, did he make or receive any phone calls after the safety video had finished?

11222 (2018). Hon Judith Collins to the Minister of Transport

Was he on flight NZ460 from Wellington to Auckland on 17 May 2018?

11221 (2018). Hon Judith Collins to the Minister of Transport

If he was on flight NZ460 on 17 May 2018, was he travelling for ministerial purposes?

11220 (2018). Hon Judith Collins to the Minister of Transport

If he was on flight NZ460 on 17 May 2018, was anyone from his Ministerial office sitting with him?

11219 (2018). Hon Judith Collins to the Minister of Transport

If he was on flight NZ460 on 17 May 2018, did he make or receive any phone calls when he was on the plane?

11218 (2018). Hon Judith Collins to the Minister of Transport

If he was on flight NZ460 on 17 May 2018, did he make or receive any phone calls after the safety video had commenced?

11217 (2018). Hon Judith Collins to the Minister of Transport

If he was on flight NZ460 on 17 May 2018, did he make or receive any phone calls when the door of the plane was shut?

11216 (2018). Hon Judith Collins to the Minister of Transport

If he was on flight NZ460 on 17 May 2018, did he make or receive any phone calls while the plane was taxiing?

11215 (2018). Hon Judith Collins to the Minister of Transport

If he was on flight NZ460 on 17 May 2018, did he make or receive any phone calls when the plane was in motion and reversing?

11214 (2018). Hon Judith Collins to the Minister of Transport

If he was on flight NZ460 on 17 May 2018, did he make or receive any phone calls during the safety video?

11213 (2018). Hon Judith Collins to the Minister of Transport

If he was on flight NZ460 on 17 May 2018, did he make or receive any phone calls after the safety video had finished?

That my good friends is how you put a minister’s head on a pike. First blood to Judith Collins… and, as predicted, it was Phil Twyford.

But for the gutlessness of the prime minister, Phil Twyford would be gone for all money.

It seems that Jacinda Ardern has retained him as a minister because she needs someone to make Clare Curran look good.

All about Mac antivirus

Can Macs get viruses?

If you’re a Mac user, you get mixed messages about whether viruses and other malicious software pose a bona fide threat. Historically, Mac fans have touted their platform as immune to the kinds of data attacks and other hostile intrusions that plague the Windows world. Apple itself even reassured its customers for years that Macs “don’t get viruses.” It even said so in a series of commercials that first aired in 2006.

While it’s true Macs are more secure than PCs, they’re still vulnerable to viruses, and they always have been. By design, the Mac operating system is more secure against the threat of viruses and malware, but there are still plenty of ways for malware to find its way in. Another thing protecting Macs is the fact that they’re less popular than PCs, but that doesn’t stop some hackers from targeting Macs. Despite this, there are still tech pundits who recklessly advise against taking even basic security precautions, such as installing a cybersecurity program.

“Malwarebytes saw more Mac malware in 2017 than in any previous year.”

In the last few years, a growing number of active threats have targeted the Mac operating system. In fact, Malwarebytes saw more Mac malware in 2017 than in any previous year. By the end of 2017, the Malwarebytes intel team counted 270 percent more unique threats on the Mac platform than in 2016. What’s more, Apple’s current strategies may not be enough to stop the rising tide of Mac viruses and malware. Look into the history of threats to Macs, and you’ll see that even early on, the so-called “Mac invulnerability” was a myth. It makes you think twice about wandering around cyberspace on your Mac without taking precautions. (For further reading, see “Mac security facts and fallacies” by Thomas Reed.)

The latest Mac malware news

The state of Mac malware
Interesting disguise employed by new Mac malware HiddenLotus
Mac malware OSX.Proton strikes again

A short history of Mac attacks

The first widespread Apple virus was called Elk Cloner. It was created by a 15-year-old high school student in 1982, and it targeted Apple II computers. Disseminated by infected floppy disks, the virus itself was harmless, but it spread to all disks attached to a system. It proliferated so quickly that many consider it the first large-scale computer virus outbreak in history. Note that this was prior to any PC malware.

The first virus that targeted Macintosh computers, nVir, emerged in 1987 and remained a problem until 1991. It infected executable files on Macs, causing system issues like printing problems, application crashes, and slow response times. Compared to today’s malware that steals your identity or spies on you remotely, nVir’s annoyances seem quaint.

“nVir emerged in 1987 and remained a problem until 1991.”

Apple’s switch to a completely new architecture in 2001 helped squash such nasty bug invasions, but malware for OS X started to appear a few years later. Since roughly 2012, the number of Mac threats have seen a huge upswing. These threats include malware like spywarekeyloggersbackdoors, and more. It also includes Mac adware, and potentially unwanted programs (PUPs). All of these contribute to an increased risk for Macs. Even the Mac App Store has suffered a tidal wave of scam software. Go to any Mac forum these days and it won’t take you five minutes to find someone suffering from some kind of malicious threat.

Even as the first Mac virus threats appeared, they inspired counter measures. The first Mac antivirus programs were created in 1987 in response to nVIR and variants of nVIR. In addition, those of us sufficiently long in the tooth might even remember one of the most popular early Mac antivirus programs—a free utility named Disinfectant, released in 1989.

OS X security measures

Aware of the problem, Apple eventually replaced the classic Mac operating system with the new Mac OS X, which came with built-in malware security measures. For instance:

  • Quarantine, introduced in 2007, alerts users if they try to open applications downloaded from the Internet. It acts as a reminder, in effect prompting users to think twice before clicking—even if it’s a benign program. But Quarantine is useless against executable programs that download and launch by exploiting vulnerabilities in your browser, executing the so-called drive-by download.
  • Xprotect, added in 2009, prevents malware from being opened, but only if it carries a known signature from an ever-changing universe of malware programs. This means you have to keep updating the signature database to stay ahead of the latest threats. If that database lags behind, the bad guys get ahead.
  • Gatekeeper, which appeared in 2012, only allows installation of applications from the Mac App Store and its identified developers who have “signed’ their code. However, the modest fee to register as an identified developer, bad guy or not, presents a low barrier to getting around Gatekeeper. In other words, Mac malware often comes signed nowadays, so it looks legit to Gatekeeper.
  • There is also Malware Removal Tool, which removes known malware but only after infection, and only at certain times, such as when the computer restarts.

While these measures by Apple help lower the user’s risk, they’re not really sufficient. There are ways to bypass them, and they don’t block or detect all threat types.

Who do Mac viruses and other malware target?

The answer to that depends on the malware. Mac adware and Mac PUPs most often go after the average user, based on the assumption that Mac users are well-to-do and worth the effort. Other malware deploys in a targeted manner, such as nation-state malware, which goes after specific individuals or small groups.

Another likely vector is the developer community itself. In this sort of attack, often called supply-chain attacks, the hackers concentrate on breaching a developer’s server, allowing them to insert themselves in some part of a process between the writing and delivery of the app to users. Some time ago, a particularly widespread hack of this sort placed an infected copy of Xcode (a suite of Apple software development tools) on a developer’s servers, which subsequently affected tens of thousands of iOS apps. Once it was discovered, Apple went in and shut down all the infected copies of Xcode. (For further reading, see “XcodeGhost malware infiltrates App Store” by Thomas Reed.)

“Another likely vector is the developer community itself.”

Is my Mac infected?

How do you know if your Mac has a malware infection? Look for such clues as:

  • You land on a web page you’ve selected, and advertising banners start to intrude on you aggressively.
  • You notice that random web page text suddenly has a hyperlink.
  • Browser pop ups get in your face, earnestly recommending fake updates or other fake software.
  • You notice other unwanted adware programs, which you did not authorize or which were installed without your knowledge.
  • Your Mac crashes, heats up, or runs its fan faster than normal for no apparent reason. It may be working on an intensive task because of a cryptocurrency miner on your system, most likely installed by a Mac Trojan.

If you see any of the above, or other strange behavior, then it’s high time you got yourself some cybersecurity protection. Furthermore, though the general consumer may consider cybersecurity synonymous with the term “antivirus,” the more accurate designation should be “anti-malware,” a catch-all term that describes all malicious software, regardless of type. For example, viruses and Trojans are two specific types of malicious software, both of which are malware. The fact is, viruses are much less of a thing today, largely because there are far easier ways to infect Macs with Trojans, worms, spyware, and ransomware. (For further reading, see “How to tell if your Mac is infected” by Wendy Zamora.)

So how do I protect myself against Mac malware?

First of all, don’t fall for the hype. There’s nothing implicitly safer about a Mac except for the rarity of threats compared to Windows. As the Mac threat landscape continues to expand, most Mac users aren’t prepared for it, continuing to think they’re safe simply by virtue of using a Mac. This puts Mac users at higher risk of getting infected with something nasty.

“There’s nothing implicitly safer about a Mac except for the rarity of threats when compared to Windows.”

Secondly, always remember the “if it’s too good to be true” rule. If you get a perky pop up offering something free, put on your skeptical face and don’t touch that mouse. This often happens on risky websites, so it’s best to avoid them. If you look at the status bar at the bottom of your browser, it’ll usually show you the true URL of the site you’ll go to if you follow the link you’re mousing over (without clicking). Pay particular attention if the domain ends in an odd set of letters, i.e., something other than com, org, edu, or biz, to name a few. This may indicate it is a viper’s nest for malware.

Also, keep your software up to date, whether it’s the operating system, browser, or just about any program you frequently use. That way, you’ll avoid any malware that seeks to exploit any bugs in the code.

Remember, you are your own first line of defense, so stay vigilant. Beware of unsolicited email attachments and software from untrustworthy websites or peer-to-peer file transfer networks.

Finally, install a Mac cybersecurity or anti-malware program from a reputable vendor. This will protect you from malware that makes it past your good cybersecurity habits.

What to look for in a Mac cybersecurity (“antivirus”) program

What should the enlightened Mac user look for in a cybersecurity program?

  • Comprehensive, layered protection. It should be able to scan and detect viruses, as well as maintain proactive real-time defense against malware. The goal is to catch dangerous threats automatically, before they infect your Mac. This way, you don’t have to stress about it or rely on manual scans.
  • Detection of adware and potentially unwanted programs (PUPs). These annoyances can lurk on your machine, slowing down your Mac. You want security software that finds and quarantines them.
  • Remediation. After removing the threats, remediation corrects system changes, regardless of severity. This allows you to return to the machine’s “desired state.”

Of course, it’s best to have comprehensive protection before something—malware or otherwise—infects your Mac. If you do take a hit, hit back by downloading Malwarebytes for Mac, run a scan, and rest easier. It zaps and continues to block malware. It detects and quarantines adware and PUPs too, and it does it all with a low impact on system resources, so you don’t get bogged down. It can even recognize when new threats appear to be similar to the signatures of previously identified threats, providing protection against new, unidentified threats (zero-day).

Here’s your takeaway: Even on a Mac, safe computing is a matter of vigilance. Avoid opening unsolicited email attachments or downloading software from untrustworthy websites or peer-to-peer file transfer networks. Keeping security in mind can go a long way toward keeping you safe from some online threats, but not all of them. This is why a good Mac cybersecurity program is essential.

Who cares, Unless you want to make it Racist

Editorial: Hastings District Council snubs native tree plantings – again

Nikau palms on Auckland's Queen St show natives are a genuine urban option. Photo File
Nikau palms on Auckland’s Queen St show natives are a genuine urban option. Photo File
Hawkes Bay Today
By: Mark Story

Scotsman Allan “Tuki” McLean was likely embarrassed about having to use native timber to build Duart House.

The dearth of local stone forced him to incorporate pronounced joints and mock corner “stones” of heart totara in his Havelock North home. The resulting rusticated façade is a wooden home masquerading as a stone castle on the Isle of Mull.

And fair enough. The colonists were homesick and bursting with the pride of Empire.

But worryingly, 135 years on, native trees remain intensely embarrassing to Havelock North’s modern-day governors – Hastings District Council.

About 30 introduced trees on Napier Rd will soon be removed for a water main, only to be replaced with, wait for it – the golden elm.

Unbelievable, again.

Apparently an advocate of shoring up British botany, councillor Kevin Watkins this week said the elm “fits in with other plantings in the village”.

A weaker criterion for selection you’ll struggle to find. Surely this decision deserves more robust consideration than simply opting for horticultural homogenisation.

Why does the council think the introduced North Yorkshire specimen “fits” better than the native trees that stood in the area for thousands of years?

Culturally, ecologically or aesthetically, elms impart nothing like the dividend offered by a stand of rata.

Hastings ratepayers are continuing to bankroll the council’s cultural cringe.

I’m reminded of a line by New Zealand poet Allen Curnow: “Not I, some child, born in a marvellous year, will learn the trick of standing upright here”.

Here’s to the council learning the art of standing upright, and becoming as proud of home as Mr McLean.

Tracy Watkins on question time

by Cameron Slater on May 24, 2018 at 9:30am

Tracy Watkins has an opinion piece on Stuff about the unfolding debacle at question time: Quote:

Parliament’s debating chamber has never been a place for the faint hearted. After all, they don’t call it the bear pit for nothing.

So it was only a matter of time before Parliament blew up over Speaker Trevor Mallard’s drive to clean up question time.

Speaker-in-waiting for the last decade, Mallard came into the job with some firm ideas about how things would run under his rule but his effort to stamp out heckling and the usual rough and tumble of political debate is going down like a cup of the proverbial.   

Mallard’s new penalties include deducting questions from the Opposition if they step out of line. If Government MPs misbehave, the Opposition picks up extra questions.

But after nine years in Government, much of which was spent staring down an increasingly hostile and rowdy Labour opposition across the House, National can probably feel justifiably aggrieved about the umpire changing the rules.

If an MP had been kicked out every time someone heckled during the last term of Parliament, the debating chamber would have been empty most days.

National is also grappling with the abrupt loss of power and access to officials and information that comes as a right when you are in Government.

Question Time is one of the few occasions in which they can hold the new Government and prime minister to account, and scoring political points off the Government on those occasions does surprising things to Opposition morale.

Which is why resentment has been brewing that Mallard’s new rules are an attempt to screw the scrum in the new Government’s favour.

Throw into that mix Mallard’s incendiary claim that one of National’s male MPs called Prime MInister Jacinda Ardern a “stupid little girl” and National’s explosion on Wednesday after having more questions deducted was about as predictable as night follows day.

The mystery of the “stupid little girl” interjection has gone around the world but no one has owned up, and audio of the moment when it is supposed to have been said is almost indecipherable.

National leader Simon Bridges has all but accused Mallard of making it up, which comes close to an expression of  no confidence in the Speaker.

Things will only get uglier from here on in unless Mallard agrees to a rapprochement. End quote.

Mallard has also said repeatedly that the opposition benches are on the side of his deaf ear, yet miraculously he heard that? Pull the other one.

This is a shameless beat up by Mallard and Labour to protect an increasingly fragile prime minister who sits there and snarls at every question time now.

Relentless positivity certainly died a long time ago

Problems in the house with the speaker’s actions

by Cameron Slater on May 24, 2018 at 8:30am

Parliament is turning nasty and open warfare between the speaker and National has broken out, and not without good reason either: Quote:

The National Party has issued a strident letter to Parliament’s referee Trevor Mallard, demanding he explain his role in a story about an alleged sexist remark.

Mr Mallard, who is Speaker of the House, insists he heard a National MP call the Prime Minister “a stupid little girl” in the debating chamber two weeks ago. End quote.


He’s been at pains to say that it’s hard to hear on that side of the house because he is deaf in one ear… yet, miraculously, he allegedly heard that? Quote:

The remark was first reported last week by Newshub but no source was given. Mr Mallard confirmed on Wednesday those were the words he heard. End quote.

With his deaf ear? Quote:

The audio recording of the incident is unclear and National’s MPs have denied saying any such thing.

National MP Gerry Brownlee said it was unacceptable for the Speaker to promote stories about unverified events.

None of us heard it and none of us said it,” he said.

The only person who says he heard it is the Speaker and we are concerned about why some days after it had been dealt with, it’s now back in the media.

Mr Brownlee said the Speaker had to be completely neutral in parliament and to support the Opposition in its efforts to hold the government to account.

“The Speaker’s job is the hardest in parliament … but there is an expectation the Speaker will behave in a neutral fashion and we’re having a little trouble seeing evidence of that.

The letter sets a deadline of 2pm on Thursday for Mr Mallard to respond.

“All we want is a clarification – did he brief the media about this issue? And if he did, then he’s shown himself not to be in a neutral position.

National said its confidence in the Speaker had been “severely shaken”. End quote.

His rubbish deducting questions here and there needs to end too. Quote:

A spokesperson for Mr Mallard said he would not be making any comment to the media about the story.

The letter also expressed frustration at the way Mr Mallard ran Question Time in Parliament.

Since becoming Speaker, Mr Mallard has introduced a new system of discipline, awarding and deducting questions from MPs who interrupt proceedings.

National’s deputy leader Paula Bennett stormed out of the debating chamber this afternoon in protest after having five questions deducted.

“When you’re in there it doesn’t seem very fair and doesn’t seem at all predictable,” she said.

Mr Mallard said, to date, National MPs had actually been awarded 22 more questions than they otherwise would have had. End quote.

I don’t think Paula handled that particularly well. There is a better way. Let’s see if National don’t try that next time.

Mallard isn’t doing that well and his rather anachronistic defence of Jacinda looks a bit sexist in and of itself. She’s a big girl and shouldn’t need the speaker to protect her.