One of the few reasons to start Windows…

… are updates when I read about them in online media. And today I’ve got their 23H2 version of Windows 11 (because I selected to not download and install as soon as possible):

As you can see, I’m using a local account, and that’s also the reason that their news aren’t personalised (and even if, they’re not that interesting anyway):

In fact, I mostly start Windows for these updates, and from time to time because I want to convert a raw photo from my camera with the OM System Workspace – and I probably should try that under Wine on Linux again. But OTOH, I also added another local account on my machine for our daughter, so she could try Genshin Impact on it. And although we only have the integrated graphics from our AMD Ryzen 7 5700G processors, seeing that on my Eizo Monitor with its 1920×1200 resolution is beautiful, and a much more immersive experience than having it on a phone, according to Zuleikha. So for the moment, Windows stays on my SSD, together with Debian (my main OS) and Arch Linux (for experiments).

Like always, thanks for reading.

P.S.: why I don’t download and install software as soon as it’s available? Because I like software when it’s ready, like the Debian Release team says: quando paratus est. For a rolling release and the latest and greatest, I have Arch, which I like a lot more than Fedora. (This article was written on it.)

Strategic (and thus, management) errors

I really like Asus, the Taiwanese manufacturer of fine mainboards. Although they’re too much intended for gamers in my humble opinion, and what I don’t like so much are the boot screens of my wife’s (µATX) mainboard with the “Tough Gaming” or mine with the “Republic of Gamers” hints – we’re not gamers at all, and using AMDs Ryzen 5700G processors, we instead built energy-efficient “work” machines.

But this is about phones, and the Asus Zenfone line could be the optimal Android phones – they’re small, very capable with their latest Qualcomm Snapdragon chips, and they even still have 3,5mm headset jacks, so bravo to all of that. Okay, starting at around the 800€ mark here in Europe, they’re a bit expensive, so they have to compete to Google’s newest Pixel 8 – and that fight, they lose on several points:

First, the Asus phones only have support for two years and Android version upgrades, while Google’s newest offer 7 years. Second, they lack the Titan M security chip of Google’s devices which even allow alternate boot ROMs to be re-locked and verified with cryptographic keys, and third, the latest Zenfone 9 and 10 (and now also 7) lines don’t even offer to unlock their bootloaders anymore, which means that after those meager two years of support, you’re left in the cold and rain – and those phones will go to landfills much too early.

Read this report at Android Authority, or the XDA Developers’ forae about this if you wish, or write to Asus if you really care (I did). But as a recommendation for good phones, read this one from Privacy Guides.

Also, in case you’re from Germany and read “best buy” lists like this one, please reconsider: I’ve got a Google Pixel 6a beginning of this year, when they were at 319€, and everything on Privacy Guides still applies for it. So I wrote to that author as well, mentioning that we still get monthly updates (from DivestOS) for ten year old Google Nexus tablets or their Pixel 3a. No e-waste, no landfills, still (with some restrictions) usable.

And like always, thanks for reading.

Nothing to Hide

If you’re reading this blog regularly, you might have asked yourselves why all the thoughts about security, privacy, freedom, and so on lately? And you might be one of those who say “I have nothing to hide”. Well…

This one is a must see. It helps if you understand English, French, and German at least a bit, but even if you don’t, watch it to the end:

This comes from the PeerTube, and it promotes those free and decentralised services, and for good reason as you will hear. So please do yourself and us all a favour and stop using Facebook, Whatsapp, and all of that – and replace it with something like Signal or even better, XMPP. We will all profit from it.

Oh, and in case you have an old Android phone which isn’t supported with regular updates anymore, try DivestOS. And if you have a new one from Google, try GrapheneOS (or else, DivestOS again). Sure you can’t live without that intrusive Play Store? Have a look at F-Droid instead. Or are you using Apple instead? Maybe think again… and please start encrypting. You can at least do that even if you stay with a standard Google or Samsung or Apple device.

As always, thanks for reading, and for viewing.

Qotd, from Bill Beebe

He wrote it yesterday according to his blog post entry date, but I’ve found it today. And because it’s just four lines in my browser, instead of citing him here, I’ll give you Bill’s link to what I consider the quote of the day for today…

Beautiful. Thanks Bill.

Some security and privacy related links

A musician friend recently mentioned the German-speaking site of Mike Kuketz, and indeed that is a good one, if you speak German you could have a look at/into his “Empfehlungsecke“, which I really recommend.

And a photographer friend recently mentioned that he had switched his old mobile phone to DivestOS, and they also have a great list of applications and services which they recommend. In fact, Mike Kuketz also recommended DivestOS, although with the slight caveat that this is a one-man show. And that man (from DivestOS) recommends for new phones to get GrapheneOS if it can be installed on them (currently only available for Google Pixel devices).

And like GrapheneOS is the most secure operating system for mobile phones at the moment, Qubes OS is the one for desktop PCs.

But who am I, don’t believe just me – go and visit Privacy Guides, and have a look around. Their overviews of Android, Linux, and Qubes should tell you more, and their recommendations for Android or Linux are also worth a look, same as the ones for all kinds of programs/applications. Even if I prefer Debian and they prefer Arch, we still both agree to the fact that the latter is probably not the best for beginners (but better than its derivates, even if these are way easier to install).

Anyway, here you’ve got some links with very good info, so go and read – and I hope that these will be helpful. Like always, thanks for reading.

There is that word again…

When scanning the news, I stumbled upon an article in Wired with the title “The Reddit Blackout Is Breaking Reddit“, itself being based upon another article in EFF titled “What Reddit Got Wrong“. And both of these articles cite (but link to different places in the web) a third article by Cory Doctorov titled “Tiktok’s enshittification“.

And there is it, that word. Enshittification. To cite Cory a bit more, just with his TL;DR “executive summary”, he explains it as follows:

Here is how platforms die: first, they are good to their users; then they abuse their users to make things better for their business customers; finally, they abuse those business customers to claw back all the value for themselves. Then, they die.

Cory Doctorov, on his own Pluralistic.Net website

Well it didn’t start with TikTok of course, and not with Twitter, nor will it end with Reddit. But what all these sites don’t seem to understand is that no one gave them the “right” to live and prosper by content which was created by others – namely, their users, moderators, and third-party programmers. And the fact that this is happening before Reddit even “went public” (meaning to the stock market with probably millions or billions of investment) shows what was also described quite nicely with the following analogy from EFF’s Rory Mir:

“You can’t inflate the balloon forever. It will pop at some point.”

Rory Mir of the Electronic Frontier Foundation

That describes capitalism as good as it gets imho. The EFF has btw a very nice tool to check which infos your browsers are leaking, see their “Cover Your Tracks” page and tool.

And to see Cory Doctorov’s famous article cited again and again reminds me to check out his books again on his Craphound page, some of which you can download and read for free, some even in German or other translations. In case you don’t know Cory and haven’t read any of his books yet, for starters I’d recommend his “Little Brother“. Then “Homeland“.

And like always, thanks for reading.

Some links

That’s why I like The Guardian – they’re not afraid to clearly state a good opinion. Plus they name things as they are:

The Guardian view on Vladimir Putin’s war: terror without purpose
As the toxic legacy of opencast mining in Wales shows, operators get the profits, and the public get the costs

Another commentary well worth reading – this time from a different publication – is this one:

Commentary: Cory Doctorow: The Swivel-Eyed Loons Have a Point

Found that latter one through Russell Coker’s Links for May 2023 – thanks man! And yes, some post things like these to their personal chirp or toot sites – but in my case, that’s a blog… thanks for reading, like always.

Really? Thanks, but no thanks…

Seen a request from one of the Debian developers today in Planet Debian:

“As usual, if you use Bitcoin and want to show your support of my activities, please send Bitcoin donations to my address …” (won’t put the address here)

Another Debian developer – one I’ve met several times already; he’s a nice guy – has this in his signature in an internal email:

“A single bitcoin transaction alone consumes 621 KWh, or half a million times
more energy consumption than a credit card payment. The bitcoin network annually
wastes 78 TWh (terrawatt hours) annually or the energy consumption of several
million US households.

So thanks for your good work, dear DD #1, but as DD #2 suggested, I won’t use Bitcoin. Never ever.

In German / auf Deutsch: Links zur Batterietechnik der Zukunft

Heise hat immer sehr interessante Artikel und Interviews wenn es um die Batterien der Zukunft geht, selbst die Leserkommentare sind oft interessant (und gute manchmal an der Bewertung erkennbar). Hier also einige Links zum Thema:

Wußte gar nicht daß Chemie so interessant und spannend sein kann. Aber Zuleikha schreibt gerade ihre dritte und letzte Abi-Klausur in dem Fach, und Frau Dr. Mai Thi würde da sicher auch widersprechen 😉

Wie immer: danke für’s Lesen.