Category: Freedom and Privacy

Flat, Convex, or Concave Earth? It Depends on Your Lens

This video was sent to me as I have a strong interest in the topic of whether the earth is a ball or a flat surface.

As I journey towards truth, popular sources still tell me it’s a ball but all my senses tell me it’s immovable and flat…

The first thing that caught my attention was at 1:23 into the video the narrator said “His work was rewarded when NASA commended his work.”

When I reviewed the video again, the second thing I noticed was the incredible variation of curvatures.  These three images, are three different screen shots from the very same video. Go look for yourself…

convex_flat_concave_earth_curvature

The top is clearly concave.

The middle, as flat as a pancake.

The bottom, “NASA convex”

Something is fishy here and methinks it’s the lenses.

My conclusion is that this craft was outfitted with a fish eye lens (from now on lightly dubbed ‘fishy lens’) and cannot be trusted as a what-you-see-is-what-you-get (“WYSIWYG”) video result.

It also reinforced the fact that unless one personally inspects the camera equipment being loaded onto a craft, and personally confirms the final product has not been tampered with, one cannot fully trust the video results other than for non curvature-proving purposes.  I personally enjoy this video, but I cannot use it as any form of ‘proof of curvature’ – unless you believe the earth is a bouncy castle (that sounds really fun, by the way).

This video by Rob Skiba is another great one that shows amazingly weird effects that camera lenses have on the surface of the earth.

This also highlights the growing need for a ‘freedom approach’ to these projects where free software (publicly available source code, built by community) runs everything.  Ubuntu with Snappy Ubuntu and ability to run on very small devices is one example I see fitting well here.  As we get further and further buried under technology and information, the more we all need to take an active role in maintaining the freedom of said information.

Can we fully trust NASA to give us the untampered photos, videos, and live feeds that we need to make such important world view decisions?

Based on what I have seen so far, I would boldly say ‘No.”

It’s time for an increase in WYSIWYG community-built projects to find out for ourselves what our world looks like.

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Pokemon Go Away!

Pokemon Go Away Forever.

I didn’t even like the original Pokemon playing cards.  After all, the short form is ‘pocket monster’ and why on earth would I want my kids to have a monster in their pockets, let alone in their room or in my house?

The great part about Pokemon Go is that I have never seen it with my eyes, nor cast a gaze on one of its players.

I have never Pokemon’d myself – and I never will.

But from what the general media is saying, a lot of people are Pokemonin’ themselves around town.  And the creeps and weirdos are all over it and the parents don’t care.  But then again – they didn’t stop their kids playing with their smart phones and tablets so what’s the big surprise that they are now getting lured into old vans down dark streets?  Their phones lead straight to the prey and the gatekeeper was blissfully enjoying ‘quiet time’ with their own phone when it happened.

So don’t act all surprised when things fall apart.  The buck stops with us adults.

I believe Pokemon Go will be the catalyst towards change for a new group of people who realize that something is going seriously south with our world.

How did my phone lead me here?

How did they find out where I live?

How did he know that I didn’t like whole wheat bread?

Something is very creepy. Something is very sinister.

And these adults will look down at their mobile device and realize that they, too, have a monster in their pocket and the monster isn’t Pokemon.

The real pocket monsters are Apple and Google.

 

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One of the Best Summary Articles About Privacy

I have a great group of people around me.  Thoughtful people.  Thought-provoking people.  People who rub me the wrong way and who challenge me to grow and think critically.  These fine people send me articles that they read and most of them are good.

But once in a while, one of these articles stops me in my tracks and when I’m done all I can say is

“Wow….  I’m going to re-blog that now.”

This article entitled “Peak Indifference” is truly a winner.

Why am I so excited?  Because it says everything I want to say to people and now I don’t have to write it.

Do yourself a favour.  When you read this, don’t just sit there like  a toad and say “Yeah I should do something.”  Just start.  If you don’t know what to do next, reply to this post and I’ll be motivated to start helping you down the journey.

Privacy is a long journey.  I’m not there yet but I’m way further than I was 5 years ago.  Except for a few foolish bread crumbs I’ve left around the internet, I’m starting to lose online importance which is just plain awesome.

Here’s the article again in case you didn’t click and read it yet.

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Ubuntu Phone About to Shake Things Up

I’ve been an Ubuntu fan since 2009 now.  As soon as I met Ubuntu it was game over for all my desktops, laptops, netbooks, home media servers, etc.  There was no competitor who could make a new or existing machine run so quickly and reliably, and without the pain of viruses and continual financial investments to keep it up to date.  The most exciting thing was that no one owned me.  When I heard that Ubuntu was moving to the phone, I purchased a Nexus 4 (N4) so that I could go along for the ride, as that was the first device for development.

I flashed it on, and took it for a ride.  The first thing I noticed was how amazing the user interface was.  It was as if (shocking as this may sound) someone had actually designed a phone with the user in mind.   When I was forced to use a fruit-phone by the big fruit company for a job once, it was like driving a luxury sports car with one arm cut off and in a cement warehouse:  high quality hardware, perhaps, but I’d rather have my freedom and functionality, thank you.  The big US spy agency phone (google/android) not only spied on me, but also has a user interface experience that never quite made sense.  It was (and still is) difficult to do some basic setting changes.  I tried cyanogen mod as a bit of a ‘lesser-of-two-evils’ but it too had the same issues because ultimately it’s all built on the same shaky foundation.

Ubuntu, on the other hand, is built with freedom and people in mind.  Randall Ross wrote a great post a while back about the pillars of Ubuntu (seven P’s) This article really helps us understand why Ubuntu is not just software.  Randall has been preaching this message for years but only now it’s starting to really hit home with some people.  People are starting to ‘get’ that they have been sold a bad deal for computers (Ubuntu has already taken over that show) but now also the computers we carry in our pockets.

As a business owner as well as sales person for our company, I will not deny that there were some bumpy roads in the beginning.  I needed some basic things that a smart phone could offer which were a bit buggy when Ubuntu launched on the phone a few years back.  I would flash back and forth between the bondage robot (android) and Ubuntu on my N4 while I tried to do my sales job.  No battle is easy and it was never promised to be so.  Some naysayers would laugh and say ‘why don’t you just wait until they have fixed it’?  This would anger me because “relying on they” is what has caused the world to be enslaved by their technology.  I knew that I could not wait for ‘they’ to fix things.  I had to become part of the solution somehow.  So I would stay up to date the best I could, periodically flash in and out and watch the growth. I would offer my feedback and needs to the developer groups and to my surprise, I found out that I wasn’t alone.  Others were listening, fixing, building, changing, debating, enhancing and more.  I realized one very exciting thing – I was and still am part of what is a major revolution in technology.

A revolution?  Isn’t that word a bit strong?

No, it’s not.  Do you remember just a few years ago when every phone in every pocket was either a Blackberry or a Nokia?  It wasn’t that long ago.  I believe it was around 2006, perhaps.  Their day is over.  A revolution occurred, albeit perhaps not one that has not helped the world.  The employees at Blackberry and Nokia felt the revolution and when it came time to renew your nasty cell phone contract, you felt the revolution too.

But this revolution is different.  This one comes without catches, snags or enslavement.  This one allows you to finally have some control over your phone instead of it and ‘they’ having control over you.  Now tell me that that is not a revolution?  Unless your head is really deep in the fruit and robot sand, you will be nodding your head in agreement with me and looking painfully at the ‘nice phone’ you just bought.

And so we are at another turning point.

How do you know when it’s a turning point?  For me it’s when the ‘thing’ moves from the underground to the masses.  It’s the point when it starts to ‘peek out’ and when ‘regular people’ start to acknowledge that something is happening.  For me, it’s when the mainstream media has *no choice* but to start covering it or be forced to lose respect.

I believe today is the day.

This article on a very mainstream technology website (you can tell it’s mainstream by the nasty ads for Microsoft, etc, that interrupt your reading) covered the revolution.  This article explains how the excitement is now here.  The author is unable to deny that something is going on.  He is unable to restrain from wanting to be involved.

The timing on this article was also interesting for another reason.  It perfectly confirmed advice I gave to a friend who is in the middle of launching a kind of ‘uber business’.   He launched his business with the traditional iOS and Android ‘app’ approach.  He wanted to show it to me and so he instructed me to ‘download the app’.  After a short discussion, I explained to him that this business model may be outdated and on the way to extinction.  I did not want to be forced to give a big bad company my information (including GPS location!) to explore my friends business on my phone. I explained politely that he was violating my privacy.  By the end of the conversation, I believe that he took my advice to *strongly consider* moving his development to the Ubuntu platform – a place where he will be immediately received with a warm embrace, not to mention a place that is future proof.

Every business that uses technology (and I believe that is *every* business) needs to seriously consider where they will be in three years.  The way of the fruit and the slave robot is now over.  With the Meizu Pro 5, there is now a very exciting and viable option out of the box.  There are no more excuses to not jump in with all support.  Not only will you bring more freedom to your customers but you will also sleep better at night knowing that the future of your success is not in the hands of a few very powerful people.

Today is a new and very exciting day for the Ubuntu project.

 

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Should Amateur (Ham) Radio Operators Submit to Distracted Driving Laws?

Should ham radio operators be treated as cell phone users and ticked for using their radios in the car?

 

++ SHORT VERSION ++

No.

They shouldn’t.

===================

++ EXTENDED VERSION ++

Unlike cell phones, radios are simple devices with big buttons.  While looking at the road,  you grab this big dangling mic thing (think truck driver saying “breaker breaker one-niner, little buddy”), in the same way you would grab your big travel mug, and start talking into it, much like how you talk to your travel mug when it dribbles down your chin when you misalign the hole where the coffee comes out and pour down your nose and cheekbone while scalding yourself.

So, unless you would like to start ticketing coffee-drinking commuters and fining them like a down town parking meter maid then I suggest you go and find better things to do with your time, oh wonderful law enforcers of the world.  The guy texting may be a better target and if I got caught texting and driving I wouldn’t argue the ticket.

The main issue is this: ham radio operators, if you take away their mobile communications, take away most of the value.  If/when the entire communications system goes down, mobile ham radio operators will be a big part in emergency communications.  What I see happening now is that radio operators are simply not bringing their radios to the car or not using it while in the car. They don’t want to risk the ticket.  So they are also losing contact with each other and the entire community is taking a hit as a result.

Although it’s not technically illegal, the police officers don’t seem to know that.  Here is a story I wrote a while back about my experience.

WHY IT’S ALMOST NOT WORTH BEING A MOBILE HAM RADIO OPERATOR

These fine chaps from the Delta, BC Radio club have taken the  ‘political approach’.  You know, like trying to do the right thing. That’s fine if you have time to do so and great for trying.  However, the problem now is that neither police officer nor licensed hams know exactly what the law says about it.

DELTA BC AMATEUR RADIO GUYS TRY TO MAKE THINGS BETTER FOR MOBILE HAMS

Unless there is a concerted effort to properly train police officers in every district to not only stop bothering hams, but actually encourage them, I’m not very optimistic about the future of ham radio as it is.  Perhaps that’s a good thing though.  Perhaps the ham community needs to find new and interesting ways to build community…

 

 

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Are You a Victim of Abusive and Addictive Technology?

An article was forwarded to me this week by someone I know who believes strongly in the importance of ethical technology.  He is heavily involved in the Ubuntu project and we all share a desire to see a paradigm shift in the role of technology in our lives from that of a harmful consumable to a helpful benefit.

If you have looked down at your phone already since starting to read this blog you are a victim in the most serious way.  You can’t even focus for 30 seconds without running to the call of your taskmaster.

Before reading the article, I felt it would be beneficial to share some of the discussion that we had.  One friend suggested that people perhaps simply “don’t care”.  When that suggestion came I responded with this:

This issue is one of truth, in my opinion.

Everyone knows their phones own them. No secret. They know it whether they are in denial or not. So the issue is one of truth.

It seems that the same people who “don’t care”, also don’t seek out truth.  Seriously.  You have to be open-minded enough to realize that you could be the victim of someone with an agenda.

Most of the world hates truth.

“your phone owns you.”

possible response 1: yes it does. But what can you? (hears truth but rejects it by inaction)

possible response 2: no it doesnt. I’m in control. (liar)

possible response 3: yes it does. And I’m trying hard to get out of jail. (highly uncommon… like needle in haystack uncommon)

Compare this with:

“you shouldn’t eat sugar because it’s it’s bad for you”

possible response 1: Yes it is. but what can you do? It’s in everything?

possible response 2: I don’t eat that much. I’m not worried

possible response 3: yes, I know and I’m gradually reducing it from everything I eat/drink

Truth.

If someone loves truth it will be followed by action. Otherwise, you will see either denial/lying or submissive acceptance.

Now here is the article!

GREAT ARTICLE ABOUT ABUSIVE TECHNOLOGY AND HOW GOOGLE, FACEBOOK, LINKED IN AND OTHER COMPANIES MESS WITH YOUR MINDS AND LIVES.

 

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Do All Tech Writers Suffer from Fear and Creative Paralysis?

Today I was reading a recent article on Forbes website by a supposed ‘contributor’ named Federico Guerrini.  Forbes, as you may know, is a popular place for people to go to try to get ‘informed’.  His article followed perfectly a kind of template that these ‘tech writers’ for popular media use when discussing Ubuntu.

The format, and you may have seen it before, looks like this:

  • I love Ubuntu
  • Ubuntu is great
  • Here are my recent articles to prove that I can talk tech and have credentials
  • Hardware, blah, blah, blah
  • Comparison with other operating systems, blah, blah
  • Other operating systems are ‘just a little better because they have more apps’
  • Apps are oxygen to our lungs and the reason that I live
  • <critical missing information about where the future is going
  • <critical missing information about non-tech things that matter to our world>

Are you serious, Federico?

Do you not remember when computers first arrived?  There were three ‘apps’ – a clock, a calculator and word processor.  Oh, wait.  No, there was also a game – Oregon Trail on a paper thin floppy disk thing – and it took 10 minutes to load…  And people were excited because these computers had the potential to change the world.

I remember just a short time ago when the most amazing mobile operating system was Nokia and Blackberry and now they are nearly distant memories.  And they all ‘had apps’.

Apps?  Seriously, Federico?.  We need to move on past the apps, buddy.

Apps are just the fruit of people’s time and effort and a bunch of lines of code.  They are the result of people believing that the future of said operating system is strong enough and worthy enough or able to pay enough to compensate their time invested in writing the code.  That’s it.  Nothing more, nothing less.

So *the core issue is not the number of apps* but the faith of the people who write the apps and in what OS they believe in.  And you have clearly demonstrated, Federico, that you speak ‘I love Ubuntu’ out of one side of your mouth but on the other side you say ‘Ubuntu isn’t as strong as the others’.  These two messages cannot mix, but you try.

If Ubuntu was not in a fully functional, market-ready condition and still in the lab, I could more understand your position and your ‘warnings’ to stick to horrible operating systems, but, you are now out of line because Ubuntu is officially in the market – and really good, too, and standing up just fine against the big boys in terms of everything except number of apps.

Apps?  Seriously?  We need to move on past number of apps.  Especially when half of the apps on these established operating systems, and the operating systems themselves, steal your privacy and hurt your family.

It’s not about whether what you write about is true or not, either.  What you wrote about is true.  It’s what you did *not* write about that matters.  You did *not* write about how android and ios are really bad for you and your family and the world.  You didn’t write about that in your article.  You didn’t share the truth about how the privacy of the users of these systems are being raped and their information pillaged.  You didn’t even touch on it.  And that’s not very nice to people who don’t know, Federico.  Especially when you do know.  And if you say you love Ubuntu, you do know, Federico.

But what is most saddening, is that you didn’t write about the bright future of Ubuntu and where it’s going.

Ubuntu and convergence will merge all your devices into one.  It will be the go-to operating system for the world and very soon, too.  Major operating systems have even started to try to work Ubuntu into their operating systems (behind the scenes of course) because they know their funeral date is near.  You also didn’t mention how Ubuntu is the *safest* operating system on the market.  It is respectful of privacy and its users.  It doesn’t do things to you without asking.  You also didn’t mention that Ubuntu is community built and that the community will continue to shape the system (including the mobile) into something that the people actually want, not what a bunch of boardroom execs want to push out.

Ubuntu is the best thing to ever hit the world of computing, and if you say that you like/love Ubuntu, you need to share the truth when you write, not just pander to these well-funded corporations and media outlets.

I know you are scared to step out of the boat alone.  I know it’s scary to come out against the masses, but I dare you, Federico, to use your God-given creativity and a little courage and write the truth in your next article and help change the world into a better place and inspire the world to help us get past the dysentery of Oregon Trail.

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Facebook is Evil.

Dear Friend,

Facebook is evil.

There. Said it.

Now here is an actual article written by a real journalist who eloquently expands on the ‘why’ and even provides some practical solutions.  Although he’s writing to other journalists, there is nothing stopping any of you non-journalists from taking similar action.

I, however, would go one step further than Mr. Gillmor:  I recommend that you delete any accounts associated with you and leave Facebook forever and spare whatever little sliver of life and privacy (and probably that of your innocent children) you have left that you haven’t already handed them on a silver platter.

But I understand your addiction and how hard it must be for you to face it.

But I will not be the one to enable your addiction.  I love you too much.

Love Wayne Out There

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Making Your Word Press Site Secure with SSL for Free

Well, it has been quite a journey of learning and it has been quite good. Green Geeks, a big American website hosting company upset myself and a few other customers about their unwillingness to support the latest and best free and open encryption service, Let’s Encrypt.  They wanted to sell their SSL certificates instead.  The mentality is quite different from this hosting company that we found called Siteground who looks at the big picture.  Let me think for a second.  I’m a customer.  I want to choose my hosting company.  One company says ‘come over here and we’ll let you do your own certificates or we’ll sell you one” or company B says ‘We will sell you one and it’s our way or the highway.”  Which one will I choose?  Green Geeks needs to wake up and smell the coffee.

Anyway, Green Geeks forced me to figure it out by myself but it’s working. I got SSL installed on all my domains at Green Geeks.  You can read my tutorial about how to do that here.

HOW TO SET UP SSL ON CPANEL BY YOURSELF WHEN THE HOSTING COMPANY IS TOO SHORT-SIGHTED TO HELP YOU

Now that you have your SSL stuff installed you probably are like me and have a bunch of Word Press sites.  What you will find is you will probably get warnings that look like triangles, exclamation marks, etc, etc.

First, your best resource that I found through this process is this website where you can type in your domain and it will spit back the cause of your no-padlock SSL certificate problem.

WEBSITE TO TEST FIGURE OUT WHY NO SSL PADLOCK

Next, you’ll probably find this blog very educational and might help you decide a course of action that is slightly different from my decision to ‘just fix it quick’.  For me, my blogs weren’t highly important (like this one) so experimenting didn’t bother me.

GREAT WEBSITE TO LEARN ABOUT WHY MIXED SSL CONTENT WARNINGS COME AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT THEM

Now, without further adieu, here is the ‘quick fix solution’ to the ‘no padlock error in a Word Press website. Just install this plugin and, if it doesn’t fix by default, change the setting to match mine in the screen shot below.

GREAT PLUG-IN TO FIX ALL YOUR MIXED CONTENT SECURITY WARNINGS

WP-SSL-Insecure-Content-Fixer-Settings

Bonus Feature! Force your Word Press Site to Use HTTPS

Now that you’ve gone to the trouble of making SSL work and then fixing all the errors, why not force all traffic to run via HTTPS so your site is hyper secure?  It’s easy with this this plugin.  Just… well. Plug it in.  And done.

GREAT WORD PRESS PLUG-IN TO FORCE ALL TRAFFIC TO HTTPS

Hopefully everything here works smoothly for you as it did for me.  You’ll note my success since I did this tutorial to this blog! 😉

 

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How to Do Let’s Encrypt in Cpanel with Shared Hosting

Did Green Geeks (www.greengeeks.com) not want to help you get Let’s Encrypt working in your Cpanel even though it works in cpanel?  You aren’t alone.  But we can take matter into our own hands, you know.

The tutorial I’m going to share is awesome. It’s pretty much what I based everything on and of course my experience of just making my own self signed SSL to do the same thing but more home-brew.

TUTORIAL/HOW-TO TO MAKE LET’S ENCRYPT WORK IN CPANEL

His tutorial is great if you’ve worked on servers or command lines for a while, but I wasn’t so smart.  Hopefully my notes will help the less fluent folk accomplish freedom too.

Let me just give a few side notes to help someone as they do this:

Before beginning, in your terminal, you will need to:

sudo apt-get install git

  • steps 6 and 7 – Cpanel help –  Note before beginning! At no point should you ever, ever, press enter on your keyboard while in the terminal because it will force you right back to square one and you’ll have to delete all this great work you are about to do:
    • go to file manager
    • go to public_html directory and click it
    • click ‘create folder‘ with the + icon
    • type ‘.well-known’ (no apostrophes) into the field that says ‘new folder name’
    • in top right settings of your control panel hit the cogwheel and click ‘show hidden files’ or you will not see the .well-known folder you just made
    • go into the .well-known directory and create another directory called ‘acme-challenge‘ and click ‘create new folder’
    • now go inside the ‘acme-challenge’ folder and click the +file button. you will get the file name from your terminal by selecting everything after ‘acme-challenge’ and then using control+shift+C to grab it to clipboard as per this screenshot
    • copy-paste-random-file-name-2
    •  paste it into the file name with control V and ‘create new file’
    • now go back to terminal and grab the next bunch of random strings and copy it to clipboard as you are learning so well to do, young champion as per this screenshot:
    • copy-paste-file-content-from-term-2
    • highlight your newly created pile of randomness in cpanel
    • click the ‘edit’ button top right ish area of the screen and it will give you some warning and you will say ‘uh huh yep’ and click ‘edit’
    • you will now control V paste that bad boy into your file (just into the big white space) and click ‘save changes’ and should see ‘success!” because you deserve success by now, my little cherry cake.
    • click ‘close’.
    • Now you will have to do it again. The tutorial doesn’t say why but I figured it out, by golly.  It’s because you had domain.com and www.domain.com so you have to do two verifications.  If you had a bunch of subdomains, you’d have to do these steps for all of them as well, FYI.  Also, there is no mention about what to do with these random files sitting in these directories in cpanel.  You can delete them after the verification is done.
    • now go back to his original tutorial and start at step 8
    • Note!  The coolest part about this experience is when you get this message at the end: ‘Self-Verify of Challenge Failed”  – so you are like ‘NOOO!” and then what comes a few seconds later in the terminal?  This message:  “Congratulations! Your certificate and chain have been saved at…” which is actually the truth.  And then you are like ‘YAAAAH!!’ So much drama!  So many victory cries!
  • step 9 isn’t as easy as the author lets on.  It’s also a mystery to my why I cannot have permissions with sudo to do this in the command line but it gives permission denied.  I didn’t know there was a permission higher than sudo but….

sudo nautilus yes, but then where?  this screenshot should help

sudo-nautilus-to-etc

Note also typing the first letter of the folder you are searching for will speed things up, like in ‘L’ for ‘letsencrypt’ in the next level 😉

  • Step 11 isn’t easy either as he doesn’t explain how to open with ‘gedit’.  Just right click on the .pem files, then go to ‘open with other applications’ and then ‘show other applications’ and then start typing ‘gedit’ and it should show right up

Now here is the *critical awesomeness* that took 7 hours of my life to learn.  I will never get these hours back so I hope that you will take all the money I didn’t save by spending all the time and get it back out of GreenGeeks who refused to support Let’s Encrypt when at least myself and a few people I referred to Green Geeks asked them if they would help.  This, by the way, was the response we got:

greengeeks

No, you don’t support them.  But because you didn’t support me, I now support them with this blog post.  And for just 5 years of free hosting with the best plan they have, I might be convinced to remove this truth so fewer of your customers find out that they can work around your antics….

Let’s get started taking away those $20 purchases from the Geeks which are Green, shall we, or any of your hosting companies who don’t want to move into the future shall we?

How to Get a Free SSL Cert Working on your Green Geeks Hosting Plan on all your domains with Cpanel

You can create a let’s encrypt certificate for *all* of your shared domains.

Where I lost all my time was where to put the .well-known/acme-challenge in the subdomains and the whole time it was super easy.  You just click in, open the main directory under file manager and create the directories right there at the top level.  That’s it.

Then you go back and create certs for each domain and pop them in by repeating this tutorial.  One for the www and one without.

Done! Now let’s encrypt.

 

 

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