Frustrated with social media

I’m pretty frustrated with the current social media landscape. I personally prefer Twitter over Facebook but lately, I’ve been on Facebook a lot more for reasons I won’t get into here. Recently, I’ve been making a conscience effort to get back into my tweeting ways only to find out that Twitter is deprecating their API to make 3rd party apps less appealing. So let’s just go through my list of complaints.

Facebook

  • I’ve always felt very frustrated by Facebook’s stupid timeline. I want to see posts from my friends, in the chronological order those posts are posted. Instead, I get a weird list of crap, with ads that I don’t want to see.
  • Facebook is deprecating some of their API features so I can no longer use IFTTT to cross post content from my various sources to my Facebook timeline. So for instance, this blog post will need to be manually published to my Facebook timeline. Grrr. The problem of course is that this will just push me away from the platform, not make me decide to use their platform exclusively.

Twitter

  • Twitter is deprecating some of the features on their API too. This handicaps 3rd party twitter apps (my fav is Tweetbot). I believe this is a push to get users to use the official twitter app. No thanks. I don’t want another fucking company, telling me how to consume my timeline.
  • Vine. Fuck you Twitter. I miss vine.

I’m almost to the point that if you need to communicate with me, send me a text. I’ll be over here banging away on my blog like some old curmudgeon.

Re: Finding It Hard to Focus? Maybe It’s Not Your Fault

I’ve felt for years now that it’s harder to not be distracted by my technology. I’ve seen and know people who are so involved with their phones that it doesn’t seem they’re even 50% present and that’s not what I want for myself. So when I saw the article, Finding It Hard to Focus? Maybe It’s Not Your Fault, scroll by on my Twitter stream, it really grabbed my attention; pun intended.

My phone home screen. Trying to minimize distractions!

I’ve tried to set up my notifications to be pretty minimal. I’ve disabled Facebook notifications and generally feel that notifications are evil.

When I’m at work, I put my phone and my Mac both on do not disturb mode so that I can focus on what I’m trying to do instead of constantly looking at the notifications from my phone and Mac.

Recently, I’ve really felt that I’ve had an unhealthy addiction to Facebook so I uninstalled both the Facebook and Messenger applications. I’m surprised at how often I find myself just idly reaching for the phone to refresh the app. I was watching the latest episode of Sharp Objects last night and was irritated at myself at how many times I reached for my phone, while watching the show, to check Facebook. Grrr.

Even when I’m reading, it seems like I can only go a few minutes before I’m reaching for my phone to see if anybody has messaged me, to see if there’s any new likes on that dank meme I just posted… to see if anybody liked my selfie. Do. Not. Like.

What are some strategies that you use to decrease the distractions of our technologies?

Re: Apple is releasing iOS 11.4 with support for Messages in iCloud, AirPlay 2 and more

The messages are also end-to-end encrypted for security purposes. They’re protected with a key derived from information unique to the device, combined with the device passcode – which only the device owner should know. That means no one else could access or read the data.

Saw the new feature and wondered immediately if the messages were accessible to Apple like iCloud backups.  Looks like your messages are still safe with encryption!

Re: Navy’s F-35 doesn’t have range for real stealth strikes, House report says

The F-35C suffers somewhat from the length of its development cycle. Competition for the Joint Strike Fighter program began in 1993—25 years ago—when the military threats facing the United States were significantly different. In 1993, there was no concern about Chinese “carrier killer” anti-ship ballistic missiles, for example; but in 2010, China introduced the Dongfeng (or Dong-Feng) 21D, an anti-ship ballistic missile with a range of 900 miles and a circular error probability of 20 meters. That’s accurate enough, with satellite tracking and terminal guidance, to hit an aircraft carrier far offshore.

This has me wondering, if we ever got into a shooting war with China, would be initiate an anti-satilite campaign? If their missiles have satellite tracking, seems beneficial to deny them that tracking.

Re: Hackers infect 500,000 consumer routers all over the world with malware

Wednesday’s report is concerning because routers and NAS devices typically receive no antivirus or firewall protection and are directly connected to the Internet. While the researchers still don’t know precisely how the devices are getting infected, almost all of those targeted have known public exploits or default credentials that make compromise straightforward. Antivirus provider Symantec issued its own advisory Wednesday that identified the targeted devices as:

Linksys E1200
Linksys E2500
Linksys WRVS4400N
Mikrotik RouterOS for Cloud Core Routers: Versions 1016, 1036, and 1072
Netgear DGN2200
Netgear R6400
Netgear R7000
Netgear R8000
Netgear WNR1000
Netgear WNR2000
QNAP TS251
QNAP TS439 Pro
Other QNAP NAS devices running QTS software
TP-Link R600VPN

Both Cisco and Symantec are advising users of any of these devices to do a factory reset, a process that typically involves holding down a button in the back for five to 10 seconds. Unfortunately, these resets wipe all configuration settings stored in the device, so users will have to reenter the settings once the device restarts. At a minimum, Symantec said, users of these devices should reboot their devices. That will stop stages 2 and 3 from running, at least until stage 1 manages to reinstall them.Users should also change all default passwords, be sure their devices are running the latest firmware, and, whenever possible, disable remote administration. (Netgear officials in the past few hours started advising users of “some” router models to turn off remote management. TP-Link officials, meanwhile, said they are investigating the Cisco findings.

Do a system reset and be sure to change your default password. While you’re at it, update your firmware.

IMO, routers should auto update just like Chrome and our phones and everything else in the dang world. My Apple AirPort Extreme does.

Source: Hackers infect 500,000 consumer routers all over the world with malware | Ars Technica

My ideas on Star Trek

Anybody who knows me, knows that I’m a huge Star Trek fan. I watched most of TNG when it aired and re-watched all seven seasons last summer. I then watched all the TNG movies. This summer, I watched all seven seasons of Voyager and enjoyed it immensely.  Currently, I’m watching DS9 and am in season 3.

I love Star Trek but as a nerd I believe the Federation should immediately start implementing these changes to their SOP.

Implement Drones

MkWyu

Holy fuck you guys, the idea that a ship would send down THE ENTIRE SENIOR STAFF on an away mission is just completely and utterly ridiculous. I know it makes for good TV but why not send down some advanced drones? All the people do is stand around with stupid tricorders anyway. Build tricorders right into the drones and beam the drones down. Beam 10 drones down! Have different types of drones and do different types of things! Once the drones have done their thing, send down the red shirts in power armor!

Implement Power Armor

MJOLNIR_Recon

I know the Federation is peaceful and has a mission of exploration and cooperation but there’s lots of races in space that are not. They want to fight you and take your shit. I’ve seen many episodes across all three series of Star Trek where red shirts are fighting against alien invaders or fighting on a planet or fighting on an alien ship with their basic little uniforms and phase rifles. Imagine being able to have those encounters in tactical power armor, all interfaced and connected with it’s own AI built in, aka Halo. You could do all sorts of interesting stuff too, like implement site to site transporters directly into the suits. Fighting against Borg drones while wearing tactical power armor would make a big difference!

Improve Ship AI

2a7e7a4043bbd72202b3cf4a9fada71cThere are several episodes in both TNG and Voyager where the biologicals were completely incapacitated for some reason or another. If it weren’t for characters like Data or the Holo Doctor, the ships would have been lost or destroyed completely. Imagine if the ship’s computer had an upgraded AI so that the ship could act in place of Data or the Holo Doctor to save itself and the crew from annihilation.

Develop Actual War Ships

USS_Defiant_firing_phaser_cannonsAgain, I know that the Federations mission is one of exploration and peace but many races are war like. The Federation made some progress by the Defiant class ships but it had some flaws. Finish development and mass produce the things. Call them “escort” ships if you must but I’m sure the Federation could create some great combat ships.

I sincerely believe that if the Federation implemented these changes, it would help with successfully completing their missions and make the Federation more formidable.

Wi-fi router and security

I’m in the market for a Wi-Fi router so I’ve been doing a little research. When I’m looking for new electronics, I almost always check what Wirecutter recommends.

I’m also a bit of an infosec enthusiast so I was somewhat surprised that a technology enthusiast site is recommending a router that uses a traditional means of updating the router firmware – connect to the router with your computer, download a file form the manufacturer’s website and apply the file manually. Sure, the TP-Link Archer C7 is fast and has a high range but security updates are critical. Most of us don’t think about our routers once we’ve installed them – unless it’s reboot them when they’re not working right.

So even though the TP-Link Archer C7 is recommended by Wirecutter, I’ll be getting an Airport Extreme when it’s time to upgrade my old router. The update process isn’t automatic with the Apple router but at least the router checks for updates automatically and notifies you it’s time to update the software.

 

RE: Verizon tells Congress to rein in FCC’s power over Internet providers

This just irritates the living hell out of me. And by pass a bill that protects the open Internet, he actually means pass a bill that allows ISPs to use their position as an ISP to make their services better while artificially degrading competitors services.

If I pay Comcast for access to the Internet, why does Comcast get to degrade my service to Netflix until Netflix pays Comcast for access to me? Can Comcast charge me more for access to Netflix so that I’m having to pay my Netflix bill and I’m having to pay for the “premium” Internet package? Don’t forget your overage charges! But the magical hand of the market will fix all our problems the free market capitalists say. My only other option in my area is AT&T which is slower speeds and is just as slimy and dirty as Comcast. Why can’t Nashville have a EPB style citywide fiber network? Where’s my 1 gig service or even 100  meg service?

The most irritating thing is how the issue is framed by the anti-net neutrality crowd; a government takeover of the Internet!

…Verizon, which sued the last time the FCC passed net neutrality rules, urged Congress to “pass a bill that protects the open Internet in a way that avoids the collateral damage that will result from the FCC’s actions.”

Observations of an Internet Middleman | Beyond Bandwidth

This is a pretty great article.

Five of those congested peers are in the United States and one is in Europe. There are none in any other part of the world. All six are large Broadband consumer networks with a dominant or exclusive market share in their local market. In countries or markets where consumers have multiple Broadband choices (like the UK) there are no congested peers.

On Choosing Secure Passwords

I couldn’t agree with this more and if you’re not using a password manager at this point, then you’re just doing the Internet wrong.

I use 1password and recommend it. Yes, it’s pay but that’s good!

My default password generation recipe is 23 characters of upper and lower case letters. I use letters only in case I’m ever having to manually type the stupid thing on a touch screen.

There are still some passwords you have to remember. Obviously you need to remember the password to your 1password file! I also remember the password to my Dropbox account (and I use 2-factor authentication) because that’s what I use to sync my 1password file. I also changed my iPhone from a 4 digit PIN to a strong password since the 5s has the finger print scanner. It’s becoming harder and harder to pick good ones. I used the Diceware method of generating my passwords.

Again, I agree with all this:

Even better is to use random unmemorable alphanumeric passwords (with symbols, if the site will allow them), and a password manager like Password Safe to create and store them. Password Safe includes a random password generation function. Tell it how many characters you want — twelve is my default — and it’ll give you passwords like y.)v_|.7)7Bl, B3h4_[%}kgv), and QG6,FN4nFAm_. The program supports cut and paste, so you’re not actually typing those characters very much. I’m recommending Password Safe for Windows because I wrote the first version, know the person currently in charge of the code, and trust its security. There are ports of Password Safe to other OSs, but I had nothing to do with those. There are also other password managers out there, if you want to shop around.

There’s more to passwords than simply choosing a good one:

  1. Never reuse a password you care about. Even if you choose a secure password, the site it’s for could leak it because of its own incompetence. You don’t want someone who gets your password for one application or site to be able to use it for another.
  2. Don’t bother updating your password regularly. Sites that require 90-day — or whatever — password upgrades do more harm than good. Unless you think your password might be compromised, don’t change it.
  3. Beware the “secret question.” You don’t want a backup system for when you forget your password to be easier to break than your password. Really, it’s smart to use a password manager. Or to write your passwords down on a piece of paper and secure that piece of paper.
  4. One more piece of advice: if a site offers two-factor authentication, seriously consider using it. It’s almost certainly a security improvement.