Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Regular friends of the decanter may recall Ol’ Robbo mentioning a week or two ago the monstrously expensive generator we had installed last year seeming to go duff the very first time we actually had any real need of it?

Well, the installer came out today to take a dekko.  He pushed a few buttons, twiddled with some of the bits, and took some readings on others.  In the end, his prognosis was, “Well, it’s working now.  Can’t really say why it wasn’t working then, as it should have been.”

How’s that for reassurance?

As it happens, he’s coming back next week to do an annual service.  I hadn’t realized before today that the thing keeps a digital status log which records, essentially, everything that happens to it: when it turns on; when it turns off; when something goes blooey.  One of the things the fellah’s going to do when he returns is install a wireless gizmo that allows the on-board computer to send these flags to any email we choose, including the installer.  That way, he’s got a real-time alert in case a problem comes up and can respond accordingly.

I can see the usefulness of this, but I can also very much see the dangers in terms of data-based totalitarianism.

Now you folks may think that Ol’ Robbo is wandering into tinfoil hat territory here.  Mebbe, but mebbe not.

I see more and more articles about this evolving Chinese social credit system, whereby “citizens” may be rewarded or punished in terms of access to basic goods and services based on their adherence to Party-approved behavior.  Frankly, this scares the willies out of me, because I know our own Leftist Elites would dearly love to impose such a system here.

Heck, it’s already happening, with, for example, banks taking steps to limit access to credit for firearms purchases. (And yet, you still have to bake the damned cake.) The rapid digitization of everything makes such manipulation infinitely easier, as all that data can be centralized, collated, and evaluated.

A wireless generator diagnostic alert system may seem harmless, but Ol’ Robbo can just imagine, in the midst of a massive blizzard-related power outage, getting a notice from Washington Gas (which powers the thing) stating:

“Dear valued customer: Our central database indicates that you are a practicing Roman Catholic.  Furthermore, according to records obtained from Netflix, you appear to watch a great many John Wayne movies.  Your vehicular travel patterns indicate that you do not take full advantage of available public transportation resources.  Your social media activities demonstrate that you are not sufficiently woke.

These data have a direct, negative effect on your social credit.  Because of this and because of our limited resources during the current emergency, this is to inform you that we are temporarily suspending the supply of natural gas to your location, and redirecting that supply to other customers with higher credit.

Have a nice day.”

I only hope that this is just crazy talk.