IT Careers and Rural/Retreat Living. (CompTIA) A+

I’m writing this as an expansion of JWR’s article posted on December 8, 2022. As he noted, many office jobs can now be done from home.

This article is about how I got started in my career in Infomation Technology (IT). While bumpy at times, IT has really paid off for me financially. I hope that my article will inspire some readers to follow a similar path, which may allow them to escape the dysfunctional cities. For those who are already living in rural America, read on to find out about another way to earn income.

I got started in IT four years ago when I was working in a non-sworn capacity for a large municipal law enforcement agency in California. After I decided that I didn’t have the desire or the right personality to become sworn, I started looking for another path.

One of my cousins, who is now the president of a managed-services provider on the East Coast, suggested that I obtain the CompTIA A+ certificate. The Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) A+ is the gateway certificate to many other IT career paths, such as networking and security. The certificate I just passed is CompTIA Data+. If you want to start at the very beginning — if you know absolutely nothing about computers, or you’re not sure if a career in IT is right for you – then get the CompTIA IT Fundamentals certificate.

I took a leave of absence from the agency to study for the exam. I passed on the first try. It took a few months to get my first IT job. My first IT job, which paid about the same as my job with that law enforcement agency, consisted mainly of imaging computers. Imaging is when a suite of programs is put together on an operating system (usually Windows 10 or 11) in a custom manner for a company and then installed on computers to be used by that company. The image was put on the warehouse server and we imaged about 30-50 computers at a time. We also put asset tags on the computers – these are stickers which say “Property of…” and a serial number.

Some months later, that company was bought out. Things were looking squirrely; I was worried that I might be laid off. Then a recruiter called me to ask if I wanted a job that paid more at another company which was a little farther from home. I grumbled about the extra driving, so he quickly added an extra $3 per hour to my wage. My base wage at this company, the one I work for now, was equal to the overtime wage at the previous job and at the law enforcement agency. That’s when CompTIA A+ paid off for me!! I started by helping users in person at the company office.

A few months after I started with my current company, the Covid crisis broke out. Those…

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Consumers’ Sensitive Internet Metadata Sold to DOD-Funded Researchers

In a letter to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Khan, Sen. Ron Wyden revealed that Neustar, which provides recursive Domain Name System (DNS) services, sold consumers’ sensitive internet metadata to researchers funded by the Department of Defense. According to Sen. Wyden’s letter, U.S. federal agencies, including the FBI and DOJ, asked the Georgia Tech researchers to run specific queries on the data and share those findings with the government. In his letter, Sen. Wyden requested that the FTC investigate whether Neustar violated the FTC Act by failing to adequately notify its consumers that Neustar was selling their data.

EPIC has a particular interest in protecting consumer privacy and has played a leading role in developing the authority of the FTC to safeguard the privacy rights of consumers. In November, EPIC submitted comments in response to the FTC’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding a Trade Regulation Rule on Commercial Surveillance and Data Security. In its comments, EPIC called for the FTC to prohibit out-of-context secondary uses of consumer data, including the growing practice of data brokers providing consumer data to government agencies without a warrant.

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Epoch Times: Democrats Reject GOP Request for More Information on US Postal Service Surveillance of Conservatives

The existence of iCOP has raised concerns among privacy advocates and USPS was swiftly inundated with lawsuits from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Judicial Watch, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), and the James Madison Project over the program.

An inspector general report was subsequently conducted and released in March which found that iCOP did not have the legal authority to conduct mass surveillance of American protestors and others and that it had “exceeded the Postal Inspection Service’s law enforcement authority.”

Read the full article here.

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Livestock Options for Meat on a Homestead | Homesteading Simple Self Sufficient Off-The-Grid

Livestock Options for Meat on a Homestead | Homesteading Simple Self Sufficient Off-The-Grid | <![CDATA[ window._wpemojiSettings = {"baseUrl":"×72/","ext":".png","svgUrl":"","svgExt":".svg","source":{"concatemoji":""}}; /*! This file is auto-generated */ !function(e,a,t){var n,r,o,i=a.createElement("canvas"),p=i.getContext&&i.getContext("2d");function s(e,t){var a=String.fromCharCode,e=(p.clearRect(0,0,i.width,i.height),p.fillText(a.apply(this,e),0,0),i.toDataURL());return p.clearRect(0,0,i.width,i.height),p.fillText(a.apply(this,t),0,0),e===i.toDataURL()}function c(e){var t=a.createElement("script");t.src=e,t.defer=t.type="text/javascript",a.getElementsByTagName("head")[0].appendChild(t)}for(o=Array("flag","emoji"),t.supports={everything:!0,everythingExceptFlag:!0},r=0;r tallest) { tallest = thisHeight; } }); group.height(tallest); } equalHeight($(“.dg-grid-shortcode .dg_grid-shortcode-col”)); $(window).resize(function() { equalHeight($(“.dg-grid-shortcode .dg_grid-shortcode-col”)); }); }); ]]>

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EU Board Rules Meta Can’t Forcibly Collect Personal Data for Behavioral Advertising

Privacy regulators in the European Union ruled this week that Meta may not use its terms of service as a basis to forcibly collect personal data and target ads at Facebook and Instagram users. The decision by the European Data Protection Board could significantly limit the data that Meta can use for behavioral advertising.

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulations generally prohibits companies from forcing users to submit to personal data collection in exchange for a service. Since 2018, Meta has argued that the GDPR’s contractual necessity exception still empowers the company to collect personal data to fulfill its terms of service—and that personal data collection for behavioral advertising is a necessary aspect of the platform. In other words: Meta claims that users are in a contract to receive personalized ads.

But the EDPB rejected Meta’s use of the contractual necessity exception. In a statement, the Board said that the decision settles “the question of whether or not the processing of personal data for the performance of a contract is a suitable legal basis for behavioural advertising[.]”

Enabling consumers to opt out of all behavioral advertising could have a significant impact on Meta’s ad-based business model. Meta argues that it already allows users to opt out of personalized ads, but the current opt-out mechanism only applies to advertising based on a user’s activity on external websites and apps; consumers cannot avoid ads based on user activity from Meta platforms. When Apple recently required iPhone apps to provide users with an easy mechanism to opt out of cross-app tracking, Meta lost $10 billion in ad sales for 2022.

EPIC has long supported protections for the privacy of social media users. EPIC recently submitted comments concerning the Federal Trade Commission’s commercial surveillance rulemaking, urging the FTC to adopt regulations on a number of issues related to behavioral advertising. In addition to calling for a ban on targeted advertising directed at minors, EPIC reiterated its call for the FTC to adopt a data minimization rule to ensure that businesses only collect data consistent with consumer expectations. EPIC explained that “out-of-context secondary uses of data—including its sale to and use by data brokers, surveillance advertising firms, and other entities trafficking in consumer profiles—and the overcollection that feeds them are inconsistent with the reasonable expectations of online consumers.”

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EPIC, Coalition Urge President Biden to Ensure That Federal Policing Funds are Not Used for Abortion Surveillance

In a letter, EPIC and a coalition of 54 civil and human rights, civil liberties, and reproductive rights organizations urged the Biden administration to enact policies to prevent states from using federal funds and federal law enforcement assistance programs to investigate or prosecute abortion care providers and individuals seeking abortions. The letter highlights the federal assistance to local law enforcement that could be used to enforce abortion bans including digital forensic services, the National Domestic Communications Assistance Center that provides assistance for monitoring digital communications, and fusion centers. 

EPIC has long advocated for health privacy, recently submitting comments to the Health and Human Services Department urging protection of patient privacy. A recent EPIC blog post analyzed the state of abortion surveillance after the Dobbs decision overruling Roe v. Wade. Earlier this summer, EPIC and a coalition of 70 organizations urged Google to end the collection of location data in light of the threat to health privacy posed by location tracking.

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Chicken Rice and Broccoli Casserole

Chicken, rice, and broccoli casserole is a delicious and easy to make dish that is perfect for a weeknight dinner. The combination of tender chicken, fluffy rice, and nutritious broccoli makes for a well-rounded meal that is sure to satisfy even the pickiest eaters.

Chicken Rice and Broccoli Casserole receipt

To make this casserole, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup of uncooked white rice
  • 2 cups of broccoli florets
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 can of cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To start, preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish. Next, place the chicken breasts in the dish and season with salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, combine the rice, broccoli, cheese, cream of chicken soup, and chicken broth. Mix well to combine and then pour the mixture over the chicken in the baking dish.

Place the dish in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender. The casserole should be golden brown and bubbly when it is done.

Once the casserole is finished baking, let it cool for a few minutes before serving. You can serve the casserole as is, or with a side of your choice such as a simple salad or steamed vegetables.

This chicken rice and broccoli casserole is a tasty and satisfying meal that is sure to become a family favorite. It is also a great dish to make ahead of time and reheat for a quick and easy dinner during the busy week. Plus, the leftovers make for a delicious lunch the next day. Give this recipe a try and enjoy the delicious flavors of chicken, rice, and broccoli in one dish.

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EPIC, Coalition Urge Congress to Include FISA Amici Reform in Spending Bill

On November 29, EPIC joined a coalition of privacy and civil liberties groups in urging Congress to include the Lee-Leahy Amendment—the FISA Amici Curiae Reform Act of 2022—in any final spending bill. The Lee-Leahy Amendment would strengthen and expand the role of the FISA amici. The Amendment would further protect Americans’ First Amendment rights by enabling the FISA courts to seek amici input on the use of FISA surveillance in sensitive investigative matters.

EPIC recently submitted public comments to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) on Section 702 surveillance authorities, recommending in part that the PCLOB should advocate for an expand role for FISC amici in line with the provisions of the Lee-Leahy Amendment.

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Weapons: A Young Man’s Preps

The world is increasingly becoming a less comfortable place. You, as a teenage or young adult man reading this, have hopefully recognized this. You’d have to be oblivious not to. A lot of us are. This guide is meant to help give a high school to college-aged guy some ideas on how to increase his own personal preparedness. I have some small experience with this: I grew up in a moderately prepared family, and due to the intersection of theirs and my interests, I have what I think is a relatively realistic view of what is an attainable level of preparedness for your average guy without a lot of resources and support. I admit that this article will likely strike some as unbalanced in scope.

Let’s talk about personal situations. Yours is going to be critical. A lot of this information is going to be of differing levels of usefulness. Some things you need to consider include:

How old are you? There may not be much difference biologically and mentally between a seventeen, eighteen, and twenty-one-year-old you. But there sure is a great big legal one, and that will affect what is available to you. Having only recently turned twenty-one, a lot more things are open to me in terms of what I can now purchase, but they were mostly things I’d already tried, (handguns, alcohol, and tobacco) so the efficacy of the laws should also be considered.

Disclaimer: Do not do anything illegal, I am a fine upstanding pastor’s son who pays his taxes, volunteers during local elections, helps out the elderly, definitely supports women’s suffrage, and definitely has not made his own guns and alcohol. Did I mention that I pay my taxes?

Where do you live? Are you in the US, Poland, or Brazil? Urban or rural? How much space do you have for gardening or shooting practice? Your neighborhood alone can make a world of difference regarding what you’re able to practice. In one house we lived in, we only kept rabbits and four “pet” chickens because of neighborhood restrictions. In another house in the same county we’re able to have pigs, goats, and a steer. Can you shoot an air gun or practice fire starting in your yard, or will your cat lady neighbor call the cops on you if she sees you with so much as a Swiss Army Knife?

What’s your family situation? Are you on your own in an apartment, or still in your parent’s house, or some other arrangement? Are your parents like mine, fine with letting a fifteen-year-old have guns and ammo in his closet, allowed to buy whatever blade he has money for? Or is your mother a raging hoplophobe? (It’s usually the mother, if your father is a raging hoplophobe then you have two mothers.) Are your parents divorced or together? Moving kits between houses might get complicated, but so would maintaining duplicate kits. Sharing a room with a sibling could also complicate your plans; a friend of…

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What are the best fruits for diabetics?

Eating a healthy and balanced diet is an important part of managing diabetes. Fruits can be a tasty and nutritious part of this diet, but it’s important to choose the right ones. Some fruits are higher in sugar and carbohydrates than others, so it’s important to be mindful of portion sizes and choose the best options for blood sugar control.

Here are the top 10 fruits for diabetics:

    1. Berries – Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries are all low in sugar and carbohydrates.
    2. Citrus fruits – Oranges, grapefruits, and lemons are high in vitamin C and other nutrients, and they are low in carbohydrates.
    3. Apples – A great source of fiber, which can help lower cholesterol levels and regulate blood sugar.
    4. Pears – High in fiber and low in carbohydrates, pears can help regulate blood sugar levels.
    5. Stone fruits – Peaches, plums, and nectarines are low in carbohydrates and contain antioxidants that can help lower the risk of heart disease.
    6. Avocados – A great source of healthy fats and fiber, avocados can help regulate blood sugar levels.
    7. Green vegetables – Leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale are low in carbohydrates and calories, and they are packed with vitamins and minerals.
    8. Tomatoes – High in vitamins and minerals, tomatoes are low in carbohydrates and calories.
    9. Cucumbers – Cucumbers are low in calories and carbohydrates, and they are a great source of hydration.
    10. Pineapple – Pineapple is high in vitamins and minerals, and it contains an enzyme that can help with digestion. It is also low in carbohydrates.

It’s important to remember that even healthy fruits should be eaten in moderation, and it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian about the best ways to manage your diabetes. By making smart choices and sticking to a healthy diet, you can enjoy the many benefits of fruit while keeping your blood sugar levels in check.

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