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Extra Bytes Blog


Thanks for listening to Mark Stross' TechByte Show, Wednesday mornings, with Bulldog, Coach, and Big Al, at about 9am EST, or whenever the Mayor is finished.

Queen Elizabeth’s 65 year-old warning. The Edge - Technology is Not an Excuse to Abandon Principles.

Show #109. September 14, 2022

In Honor of the death of Queen Elizabeth, I thought you'd be interested in what she had to say about technology. The Queen's 1957 Christmas Broadcast was an historic event, as it was the first to be televised. It was also the 25th anniversary of the first Christmas Broadcast on the radio. The broadcast was made live from the Long Library at Sandringham, Norfolk. Happy Christmas. 

Here's the full video, and the highlighted part of the speech below. She saw it coming even then; the threat that this fast-moving technology train would bring to our fundamental principles and society. May she Rest in Peace.

"That it’s possible for some of you to see me today is just another example of the speed at which things are changing all around us. Because of these changes, I’m not surprised that many people feel lost and unable to decide what to hold onto and what to discard, how to take advantage of the new life without losing the best of the old.

Speaker 1: (02:08)

But it’s not the new inventions which are the difficulty. The trouble is caused by unthinking people who carelessly throw away ageless ideals as if they were owed and outworn machinery. They would have religion thrown aside, morality and personal and public life made meaningless, honesty counted as foolishness and self-interest set up in place of self-restraint. At this critical moment in our history, we will certainly lose the trust and respect to the world if we just abandon those fundamental principles which guided the men and women who built the greatness of this country and Commonwealth."

TikTok. The Edge - Engineered for Addiction

Show #106. August 24, 2022

Here are some key stats from a article written by Dan Price.


TikTok key statistics

-TikTok generated an estimated $4.6 billion revenue in 2021, a 142% increase year-on-year

-TikTok had 1.2 billion monthly active users in Q4 2021 and is expected to reach 1.8 billion by the end of 2022

-In China, TikTok is accessed by over 600 million users daily

-TikTok has been downloaded over three billion times

TikTok in the network age.

We are in a new era and it’s the era we call the network age. What that means is that everyone is connected. TicTok is a social media app designed around teenage minds and how to keep them watching their screens. With the connected world this app has joined so many teenagers together that its breaking records for usage and also breaking records in medical issues occurring with usage.  You see, TicTok in America allows teenagers to see and do anything they want, unsupervised. But the same app with the same engine does not show Chinese teenagers morally degrading material because it's banned by the the government. In America the algorithm in the app rewards the most sensational and outrageous behaviors. Draw any conclusion you want from this statement… one fact is for sure; the Chinese government would ban our version of TicTok in their country yet they are exporting it to us...with an intention to do harm. Everything comes at a price and America will pay this big price later on; when our teenagers have the attention of a gold fish! -Mark

7 Reasons TikTok Is Bad for Everyone

BY DAN PRICE PUBLISHED OCT 24, 2021 MagnatesMedia 2022

1. Chinese Influence

2. TicTok is bad for the brain

3. Censorship

4. Don’t try this at home - deadly stunts

5. Data Collection

6. Security issues

7. Worrisome Content


TikTok is a significant stain on the already-tainted world of social media. You should delete your account today. Here's why.


With more than 1 billion monthly users, it is fair to say that TikTok has taken the world by storm since its launch in September 2016.

But like so many social media apps, it's not all rosy. TikTok has a dark side that might make you think twice about using the app.  

A Deeper Dive

1. Chinese Influence

While it would be unfair to tar all Chinese apps with the same brush, it is an undeniable fact that TikTok has endured more than its fair share of controversies that can be traced back to its Chinese owners, ByteDance.

Here's a summary of some of these controversies:

TikTok has been removed from Hong Kong following the recent issues surrounding the region. Anyone in mainland China whose cell provider is China Mobile, China Telecom, or China Unicom cannot use the app. The US government came within a whisker of banning TikTok in America in August 2020 after then-president, Donald Trump, said he had evidence that showed ByteDance "might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States." India banned TikTok in June 2020 after the government said it was "prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of the state, and public order." 

2. TikTok Is Bad for Your Brain

TikTok's format of short videos has been linked to decreased attention spans when the app is used for more than 90 minutes a day.

The problem became so severe that TikTok was forced to take action. It hired influencers such as Gabe Erwin, Alan Chikin Chow, James Henry, and Cosette Rinab to ask users to take breaks, and created pop-up warnings to encourage users to stop scrolling.

While using an app that harms your brain is not a good idea for anyone, the issue is particularly pertinent on TikTok due to its demographics. More than 60 percent of users are under 24, a period of time in which the human brain is still not fully developed.

3. Censorship

TikTok moderation is a mess, with censorship rife across the platform.

For instance, the problem surrounding the removal of tags has led some already marginalized communities to become even more excluded. Users who protested racism in their videos reported a drop in popularity of their other content. There is no list of banned words or phrases. And it is unclear whether the mod team is run by AI or by humans.

And if you think all this is hearsay, think again. In March 2020, The Intercept got its hands on some internal TikTok documents that said moderators needed to suppress posts by users who were "too ugly, poor, or disabled". The problem is getting worse, not better.

4. Don't Try This at Home

Social media "challenges" are nothing new. Many of them are harmless fun and often raise money for a good cause. Who could forget classics such as the "ice bucket challenge" or the "mannequin challenge"?

However, some of them stray into dangerous territory, and this is where things get worrying. "Planking" was one of the early trendsetters, with people putting themselves in vulnerable positions (such as atop skyscrapers or on train tracks) just to grab an image for Instagram.

TikTok has taken the idea of dangerous challenges to new extremes. The "penny challenge" (in which you drop a penny between a wall socket and a plug) has started house fires, while the "skull breaker challenge" involves intentionally tripping people up. Nasty injuries have been reported.

There is also the "devious licks" challenge. The challenge encourages students to steal or vandalize school property. Several students have been arrested, and schools have been forced to spend money on fixing broken property. All of this makes TikTok entirely inappropriate for kids, and yet they keep using the app.

5. Data Collection

For better or worse, most users now accept that all the apps on our phones track us in some way. But while social media has always been one of the worst culprits, TikTok's data collection techniques are particularly dystopian.

In its privacy policy, TikTok says that it collects the "information you provide in the context of composing, sending, or receiving messages." Yup—TikTok can actively watch what you are writing in messages to friends, even if you never hit the send button.

It also requests access to your phone's model, screen resolution, current OS, phone number, email address, location, keystroke patterns, and even contact lists. None of that seems important if you just want to watch 15-second clips.

It's no exaggeration to say that TikTok is a danger to your privacy.

6. Security Issues

Many security researchers have found security vulnerabilities in the TikTok app.

They range from hackers using SMS messages to gain unauthorized access to accounts, through to issues surrounding the use of HTTP and HTTPS when delivering videos.

7. Worrisome Content

There is no shortage of research that proves how bad social media is for your mental health.

The toll on your brain comes in many forms. You'll find ample cases of the usual social media scourges—harassment, abuse, and cyberbullying.

But the problem runs deeper. For example, many younger users have uploaded sexually provocative content, while there have also been cases of ex-partners attempting to ruin their previous partners' lives by uploading videos and photos from their old relationships.

This has real-world consequences for users. In Egypt, five women have been sentenced to two years in prison for "violating public morals" in their TikTok videos.

Sadly, there is also a never-ending stream of anti-Semitism, racism, and xenophobia. There have even been cases of ISIS using the platform to promote their extremist propaganda.

All these issues can lead you on a path you don't want to go down. Don't put yourself in these positions unnecessarily.

Delete TikTok Today

Back in 2018, the #DeleteFacebook movement took hold as users protested some of the company's ulterior motives and suspicious practices.

But while Facebook is no angel and unquestionably deserves to be under the spotlight for the decisions it has taken in recent years, TikTok is a whole lot worse.

The bottom line is quite simple. You should not have an account, you should not have the app on your phone, and you should not encourage other users to sign up.

Truth Decay. The Edge - It's Inconvenient

Show #105. August 17, 2022

Listen to This Episode

The Truth Is....

...to some in the eyes of the beholder Or To others the truth is written by the victors, and In today’s America the truth is unfortunately dictated by political peer pressure. Do we overstate the big threats - the answer is “yes we do” and that is cited in these videos and I can universally say yes and our fans understand why - the computer ai social media algorithms have taken care to feed our fears for profit and we have become a very manipulated confused country. Facts are not as important as the color of you party. In order to fix our issues we need to cooperate. These videos should really make you think!

Online Safety and Protection. The Edge - It's a Family Affair!

Show #103, August 3, 2022  

Click to Hear This Episode

The online world is dangerous in many ways. When we were young, we played kickball in the street. We recognized the danger of the street because our parents taught us to watch for cars. We understood that streets were made for more than kickball and hockey. Big dangerous cars use streets as well. And, most of us soaked up the sun in the streets without ever getting hit by a car. Why? Because we had common sense.


What does it mean to have internet common sense? We all know that engaging in online business transactions can make us vulnerable to identity theft. That’s common sense now. But the potential dangers go way beyond this now. We must stay abreast of technology so we so can keep up with what’s happening in our digital streets.

Everyday, computers/companies track our online activity, including every keystroke, under the guise of helping us have “an enhanced online experience tailored to our needs and interests”. (Just look at how much attention TikTok’s user agreement is getting as people start opening their eyes to what they are agreeing to.) Your keystrokes, clicks, and searches make up your digital footprint. Everywhere you go online leaves a trail of cookie crumbs that can be followed. This is monitored and even saved in backups all over the web, and sold again and again to advertisers who want to place their product in front of you….and your children.


As adults, we must safeguard our digital footprint, become informed about who and what is keeping tabs of our activities. But who is protecting our kids? Too young to think about consequences, they follow the adrenaline rush and dopamine hits to the newest trend, without a single synapse of worry about who might be watching. Unfortunately, the youth are quite casual about who has their information and don’t concern themselves with digital protection. It is our responsibility to educate ourselves and protect our personal information. It is also our obligation to the next generation to model responsible behavior, and teach them safe, moral and ethical online behavior.


Veterans 4 Child Rescue Reel

The above information was promised after this online discussion with V4CR seen above. Veterans For Child Rescue (V4CR) is a nonprofit dedicated to exposing & eradicating child sex trafficking in the USA.



V4CR produced a free documentary: Contraland to alert the populace to the gruesome reality of child trafficking and predators in the USA. The footage provides a glimpse of our counter-trafficking operations and arrests, includes interviews with survivor and world experts, and exposes the history and methods predators use to groom and abuse children.



 1. Keep talking to your family.

When talking with your kids about their day, weave in a few questions about what’s happening online. What are their favorite games and apps right now? What shows are they watching? Is there a funny post or video they want to share? These questions will help you understand their world a bit better and will help teens become more comfortable talking with their parents about their private online lives. (Children under 18 should not be allowed to have a private online life).2. Become the ambassador of your better self in their world.

It is not deep enough to just talk to your kids about their passions if you want to understand what they like and could become addicted to. Engage them. Go into their world and create virtual characters of yourself that are not age and visually bound to your present form and this allows you a golden opportunity to create avatars that your kids find fun and you can show your children how to act as a great fun loving ambassador of morality and fun in their world… studies are showing that parents who relate in a meaningful way with their children’s tech are having better outcomes in how their children grow up. Engagement is everything.3. Learn how to be the edge in your security.

An antivirus software security suite that covers both your computer and mobile devices provides a wider safety net. The best security suites come bundled with firewall protection, a password manager, phishing detection, and a VPN.  Use every tool that comes with the suite. VPN

4. Learn how to stop bad guys before they even get to your house!

DNS level control outside of your environment and keep your network safer before it hits your home. Use a product like openDNS which allows you to filter web site categories or even sites so that you control what can come knocking at your door.

5. Learn how to protect your identity online.

sited from PC magazine McAfee's study found that 15% of children experienced attempted account theft, while 28% of parents reported it happening to them. An identity protection service monitors your family’s accounts and personal info for unauthorized or suspicious activity.

6. Take the time to protect your devices.

Lock down your family’s mobile devices with a PIN or other protection like facial recognition or a fingerprint scan. For apps, use multi-factor authentication wherever possible. Protect your accounts with strong passwords. Use a unique password for each account. This makes it more difficult for hackers to compromise multiple accounts. A password manager will do all the work by creating and storing strong, unique passwords for you.

7. Keep your software and devices updated. 

It's not time wasted; consider it freedom from future hassle. Updating your operating systems and apps will keep you current with the latest features and enhancements, and help you keep one step ahead of hackers as well. Many updates to operating systems and apps include security fixes and enhancements, which can keep bad actors from taking advantage of any exploits or loopholes on your devices. LINKS


Software Security Suite VPN Identity Protection Sevice Multi-Factor Authentication Unique Passwords

Learn More about V4CR Here

About V4CRVets4ChildRescue.org/about Arrests & Conviction:Vets4ChildRescue.org/arrests  Donate:Vets4ChildRescue.org/donate What is Child Trafficking?Vets4ChildRescue.org/what-is-child-trafficking What is Grooming?Vets4ChildRescue.org/what-is-grooming

Jordon & Rubin. The Edge - Cancellation Replaces Conversation.

Show #99, July 5, 2022  

It's ironic that I grew up with parents defining in the most public of ways the plight of Trans people to have the rights they have today; however I never thought that the fight in the 1970’s would end up with cancellations in the year 2022. Where have we gone wrong to get us here? Why are we so reactive to people’s opinions and have no tolerance towards opinions that differ from our own. 

How is this about technology?

Because only people with power can do the cancelling. And they happen to be the ones wielding the most technological might. Their personal opinion should not dictate or control the public conversation and that is my rub. Opinions usually come in two different views and in America today we are trying to- by brute force- force one opinion down everyone’s throats. That is not going well for us; and its starting a real counter cultural revolution. 

Radio's 100-year Impact. The Edge - What Radio Represented to Civilization.

Show #98, June 29, 2022  

I fall asleep some nights listening to Old Time Radio. There are thousands of shows to be explored and enjoyed. These shows will teach you a great deal about American culture. In fact, you'd be surprised to find out that the things that are happening today, have happened before. News, culture, attitudes, and fears repeat in history. This archive proves it.


Also, I selected a few links that allow you to hear radio from D-Day, and other war correspondence. These things should be, in my opinion, a part of everyone's education. We think that during the past couple of years we have had it tough; just listen to these wartime radio clips and just reflect on how fortunate we are today, even in the midst of a pandemic and global shortages. We don't give ourselves enough credit for the progress we have made. Enjoy this trip into the past.


Peering over the Edge,