The following tutorial is how you can setup an encrypted hard drive to work with Nextcloudpi. Please note that there are a few steps you will have to perform every time your pi goes down because the drive will require decrypting. Basic understanding of the command line will be required for this so if you don’t have these skills locate someone who does. One step that should be complete before beginning is formatting your encrypted drive. We recommend following this tutorial for setting up your drive.
1. Flashing Nextcloudpi onto the SD Card using Etcher
2. Download the appropriate NCP image
Here is the repository for the NCP downloads. Make sure to get the right one as there are different ‘flavours’ of raspberry pi’s out there. Consider asking a community member. Generally it will be the generic RPi version if you are on a raspberry pi.
3. Extract the image from the downloaded archive
This extraction of the downloaded archive takes a bit more time than I expected so maybe get a coffee or play with your cat. Just saying. The extracted version is what you’ll flash to the card in the next steps, however, I think Etcher can use the raw archive but I’m too lazy to research that…
4. Flash the NCP Image to the SD Card
The instructions are pretty hard to mess up with Etcher in terms of how to use it. Just do it, but read the next important note (seriously read it, that’s why i put it bold and I’m mentioning it before you even read it)
Important usefule note!! It’s very easy to create a tragedy when flashing an image onto an SD card since Etcher doesn’t care that much what you are flashing on. I recommend physically removing any drive you don’t want to screw up. If you don’t it’s possibe to accidentally flash this onto your drive and completely kill it. Again, physically remove the drives you don’t want to kill and you’ll be a happier person.
- Optional Step if you have previously attempted an Installation on this computer (clearly out your history)
If you have already accessed a nextcloud server from Firefox and accessed it via ssh. While image is flashing onto the SD, remove historical garbage that will screw things up:
- Remove cached stuff in Firefox (assuming Firefox)
By going to settings and preferences / privacy & security / Cookies & Site data-Manage Data, then search IP address of your box and ‘remove’ and then ‘save’. It will give a warning which you say ok to. Not doing this might prevent you from accessing your box on same IP address with new install
- Remove ‘known_hosts’ from SSH.
This makes sure your old SSH keys and such don’t get in the way of a new SSH setup. In terminal go to /home/user(whatever it is) / .ssh.
Now you are in the .ssh folder. Now type rm known_hosts.
- Remove cached stuff in Firefox (assuming Firefox)
5. Plug in Encrypted Drive
This step assumes you have already encrypted your drive. If you haven’t or aren’t sure if you have, don’t continue but instead refer to comment in pre-amble above.
6. Put newly-etched SD card with NCP image on it, into your Raspberry Pi and plug it in.
About 2 minutes later you should be able to move to next step. If it hangs, you’re too zealous… and chill. If you find the page won’t load, perhaps you already tried an installation and you need to follow the ‘optional steps’ above?
7. Go to IP address of your Pi in your Browser
If you don’t know the IP address of your Pi yet, you can get it from your router (if you know how) or you can use tools like nmap and zenmap to do this on your network. They scan to show what devices are there and their IP addresses. After entering your IP address into the browser URL (something like 192.168.x.xx), you will be prompted with an activation page. But righ before that you will be prompted to accept the not secure connection (which is fine for this part).
Save those passwords somewhere safe (note the convenient clipboard icon which automatically copies the long string to clipboard!) (I use KeepassX and ‘activate’ installation. Should take a minute or two. If it hangs on the activation page for more than 5 minutes, although unlikely, you may need to re-flash the image from Step 1 above as there could be a problem with the way the image flashed onto the card.
8. Enter user and password into the prompt box.
These are the passwords you saved from step 5. Specifically it will be the password for the top one (:4443). The user is ‘ncp’ and the password is that long string of gobbly gook you saved in Step 5 above. You may/will also need to confirm security exception here again (which is normal).
9. Skip the installation wizard when prompted
We are skipping this step since we are adding an encrypted drive. We’ll do part of it later.
10. (Optional) Make Static IP
You can skipt this step, but I think it’s smart for your future to make a static IP for your NCP at this point because some routers tend to change it etc, etc. Just go to the nc-static-IP option and type in what you like and what will work in your unique network config.
Power off and get back to this web admin area so that your router/network will have new static IP if you did this step. You can do this with the power button icon in the top right of NCP admin, too, but when it comes back remember you’ll need to change the URL to the new IP in your browser.
11. Activate SSH in NCP admin
- On the left hand column you will see the SSH option in the NCP admin page. Go there and click the activate checkbox and enter an easy password. You can enter something as simple as 1234 here since it won’t be your ‘actual password’.
- Go to your terminal and do ssh firstname.lastname@example.org where the x’s are your pi’s IP address discovered in step 5 above.
- At the first prompt you enter the 1234 (easy password) you just made in the NCP admin page. This next part is a bit ‘weird’ if you haven’t dont it because it will kick back a request for the same password again.
- Enter it again.
- NOW you enter a real and strong SSH password that you will use for actual access to your box. Make sure it’s strong and you don’t lose it.
- Once you enter that it will log you out of SSH again and force you to log in again with your new and real password.
Mastering this step is critical because you’ll need SSH access to do encrypted drive stuff (such as decrypting it every time the power goes off) if something ‘goes wrong’ usually you can access your pi via SSH to try to fix it. Note: if you are prompted for the key fingerprint (should be) then answer ‘yes’.
12. Update your Pi-kages
This is to make sure you have the packages required to do useful stuff such as encrypt your drive. The cryptsetup package is in here so if ou want to do steps 11 below you better run these two:
sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade
9. Do an NCP Update
Log in again with ssh email@example.com and run this command below. This is to make sure that your packages includ the ‘cryptsetup’ package and also makes sure that your box is up to date:
10. Make Apache2 not start on boot.
Making apache2 not start on boot lets you decrypt your encrypted drive before the system starts up. If/when your pi goes down, you will need to later go in and manually mount the drive each time (instructions to follow):
sudo update-rc.d apache2 disable
Remember: when the power goes off your Nextcloud will not work until you go in with SSH, decrypt drive, and restart apache2. More on this later…
11. Pre-Mounting of the Encrypted Drive
From this point we assume your drive is already encrypted in Luks format. If it’s not refer to [this page](link to come) for those instructions
- a) Install the encryption toolset so you can decrypt your drive on NCP
sudo apt install cryptsetup
- b) Check your pi to make sure the drive is showing up at least
Mine shows up as ‘sda’ but yours might be different. Look at profile of it and make sure it’s at least there.
- c) Key step: –> make sure contents of encypted drive are EMPTY…..
- d) Decrypt the drive so it’s usable by Nextcloud. You’ll need your drive de-cryption password here (and every single time you reboot your NCP…so get used to this step…):
sudo cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/sda gcw2
- e) Check again to make sure drive is looking right
Mine looks like this:
NAME MAJ:MIN RM SIZE RO TYPE MOUNTPOINT
sda 8:0 0 232.9G 0 disk
└─gcw2 254:0 0 232.9G 0 crypt
12. Start apache
This makes your nextcloud stuff work so you can reach it in a browser
sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 start
13. Run the NCP Installation Wizard to Move Files to Encrypted Drive
- Go to the address of your pi in your browser with :4443/wizard at the end to access the first run wizard in NCP https://xxx.xxx.x.xx:4443/wizard
- “Do you want to save Nextcloud data in a USB drive?” Yes.
- “Plug in the USB drive and hit continue.” –> it’s plugged in so ‘continue’
- “If you want to prepare the USB drive to be used with NextCloudPi hit Format USB. Skip if already formated as ext4 or BTRFS. Attention! This will format your USB drive as BTRFS and will destroy any current data.” –> Skip formatting of drive because it’s encrypted and you want to keep it that way
- Move data to USB –> click the button
- Go through the ‘external access’ wizard however you like. I do mine manually in router
- For DDNS, I skip and do mine manually in router as well with No-ip but you can try this if you want. This is not the point of this tutorial This should make your nc-datadir point to your drive meaning that your hard files will now save to the encrypted USB drive instead of to the stock SD card which is by default where they would go. You will know if this part was successful because nc-automount and nc-datadir should will change from an orange colour to a green colour in the bottom right side of your browser screen.
- Go back to web admin panel from there
14. Run the nc-database move feature in the NCP admin panel
Again, make sure the hard drive is completely clear at this point. It’s probably possible to move a previous existing database here, but it’s out of the scope of my ability or this tutorial. You can investigate it yourself but this is assuming you have a clear drive.
Bonus section you hopefully won’t need
If you got a green light above in the last step don’t even read this section and skip to Step 15. If you have a problem where you try to do the above step and it gives you a permission So what happens here with encryption is a ‘symlink’ is created so it’s this symlink that needs to get the right permissions or NCP can’t do it’s thing with the step above. This may be a bug that no one else sees, but I’m leaving a few hints here in case we need it later:
In the next steps you have to in your terminal go to your /media/ folder and correct a permission manually before you are able to use the NCP ncdatabase function. if you have done previous nextcloud installations with their default directories on this drive, you will need to wipe out whatever is there before you move forward.
sudo chmod o+xr /media/gcw-ssd
(gcw-ssd is the name of the symlink created on your drive that points to USBdrive in Nextcloud)
Now go back to your NCP web area and do the nc-database move and it should work.
Command to empty your folders complete are as follow (use with caution, of course because this will ruin your day if you do it to the wrong dir!)
(if it’s not empty run: sudo rm -rf /media/USBdrive/ncdatabase)
You might also like to keep this command handy to check permissions if someone asks:
sudo ls -ld
15. LetsEncrypt – nice and easy.
This is a good chance to relax and do some Lets Encrypt since it’s easy and satisfying. Go to the left panel of web admin find letsencrypt, fill in the blanks, and press go. Now you should be able to find your box from the internets with secure connection too. You’ll need your dynamic dns url at this point to make it all work so go and do that at no-ip.com or whatever you like. S
16. Reboot system to make sure things are working as they ought
- Shut down your box with command:
- To be sure it’s back up you can ping xxx.xxx.x.xx (your box). When it starts responding you should be ready to ssh in
- SSH in (see instructions above in Step 8) At this point, because you made apache2 not start on reboot, neither your NCP admin pages nor your nextcloud instance will be accessible. We will proceed with a new section now which will be your process to get it back up each time the power goes down or it’s rebooted.
17. Getting things back up after a reboot:
- Unlock/decrypt drive. Note: yours will not be ‘gcw2’ – that’s just my example. Can be whatever you like.
sudo cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/sda gcw2
- Enter your decryption password for drive
- Restart apache (see above)
sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 start
Celebrate if it’s working! Try again if it’s not!
Special thanks to Tobias, Nachoparker and Kevin for all your hard work with me getting it this far!
I’m super bored reading these kind of stories. I’ve been free from such software and hardware for many years so at this point it’s just boring. However, I do have a solution instead of trying to sue them for monopolizing or overcharging: just force a really simple, plain language disclosure document before the sale of any Apple Inc device. Here is my proposed disclosure:
I understand that by purchasing this Apple Inc device I will be forced into a software environment called the “App Store” that is the equivalent of a rigid monopolist jail cell. I understand that the only apps I will be able to install must come from this Apple ‘App Store’. There is no other way to get an app without violating your warranties but through this monopolist app store .
Because Apple Inc will take from the software developers who develop for this device a mandatory 30% of the purchase price when you purchase an app through their system, I could either be spending money on an app that could be otherwise free, or spending 30% more than I could while software developers try to make up for their business losses from this significant commission that Apple unilaterally takes for itself.
Furthermore, I also understand that I will risk the chance of having my device’s performance remotely throttled by Apple Inc whenever they feel it is right to do so and without first consulting me about it. I also understand that even the hardware itself is made with proprietary connectors (i.e. chargers) that will not work with other standard industry connectors.
I also understand that there are other software systems such as Linux which has operating systems such as Ubuntu, that respect my freedom and choices, and provide free software and free delivery of software and that are capable of running on top of many different types of hardware, including mobile phones. I understand that many of the large corporations (such as Apple, Google) run these Linux systems for their own computers and servers.
I declare that no one is forcing me to enter into this relationship with Apple Inc, that I have do have choices, that I have been warned, and I now choose to move forward with this purchase and risk suffering all of the above pains.
Apple Inc Device Customer
Date of purchase
I can’t believe I didn’t blog this before but let’s put my regrets aside.
So, you have come to realize that everyone who knows how technology works was right – it’s all spying on you. And, well, you don’t like it but – you don’t know where to start. You feel overwhelmed. Many people have these kind of feelings
- I’m too busy to figure this out
- I’m afraid to try something new in case something breaks
- I’m used to letting ‘geniuses’ fix my tech
- I’m too old
- Everything is changing to fast
- I just want it to work
Ok, these are all normal feelings but let me be crystal clear that none of them are an excuse for letting a creep spy on you. Imagine if a peeping tom had binoculars fixed on your bedroom window. It’s as bad as that or worse so do something today, ok?
Great. Let’s get started.
THE SOCIAL STUFF
This is the most scary stuff. I watch my foolish friends and family amass the precious photos and history of their children (who had no choice in the matter) onto the servers of some very uncool people. What’s most frightening is that 9 out of 10 of these people don’t even know exactly how the technology works. If you are one of those 9, just trust me and start making the better choice for your family with the following alteratives – and bring your friends and family so that you aren’t alone.
|Unsafe||Safer Alternative||Where to get it||Quick Notes|
|*Diaspora||https://diasporafoundation.org/||Choose a pod. Sign up. Bring your friends and family. Never go back to facebook. Totally decentralized. Totally your data. You can even import and export all your data!|
|Mastodon||https://mastodon.social||Fun and extremely awesome and powerful. Totally decentralized. Totally your data.|
|TBA||let me know!|
THE PERIPHERAL STUFF
The first step is to start switching from unsafe ‘peripherals’ to safer ones. These will immediately start helping you relax about change because your operating system will be familiar. It’s kind of like renovating an ensuite washroom before tackling the kitchen. It kind of eases you into this new and safer life. But before we move on to this easy and simple step, please keep in mind that your ultimate goal *must* be to remove all unsafe operating systems from your life. This includes Apple, Microsoft and Android.
But for now, let’s start with taking one bite of the elephant.
|Unsafe||Safer Alternative||Where to get it||Quick Notes|
|Microsoft Office Suite||Libre Office||http://www.libreoffice.org/||Wipes out Microsoft Word, Excel, Power Point and more while leaving you with *more* power and features and a great experience.|
|Telegram Messenger||https://telegram.org/||Not only open source but feature loaded and works on literally any device as well as even on a web browser.|
|Kakao Talk||Telegram Messenger||https://telegram.org/||See notes above|
|Skype||hubl||https://hubl.in/||Browser based. Just allow it to use your mic/camera. Use it on almost any device. Once finished with link, never use it again, or link stays active and you can use it again and again. Multiple people at the same time is also awesome. No file sharing yet but Telegram can do this while on a chat.|
|Skype||jitsi||https://meet.jit.si/||Have heard good reports that jitsi works well on self-hosting (even safer)|
|Internet Explorer (or whatever dumb new name they give to the same garbage)||Firefox||https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/||Most people use this anyways, but just in case you are really lost... Also, the plugins you can add to this make browsing so much more awesome.|
|Outlook Express||Thunderbird||https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/||Just awesome and then you just plug in Enigmail plugin for total email encryption.|
|icloud||Nextcloud||https://nextcloud.com/||You can either buy their box or install it on an old computer as a server... or put it on shared hosting. Pure sweetness in cloud file stuff.|
|Adobe Photoshop||GIMP||https://www.gimp.org/||Unbelievably robust and easy to use. Edit photos like a pro or as a pro and never turn back.|
|Missed any??||Let me know!|
So now we have the stuff out of the way, we need to deal with email by itself.
Most people, sadly, use some of the most compromising and horrific spying machines around. Some of these might look familiar:
First of all, putting technology aside, your email address actually speaks volumes about who you are as a person. For more on this, read my post here about that. But, on top of that, it’s not secure having your email on someone’s computer. For just a second ask yourself this concerning question: Why would a company pay to give you free email? Answer: to market to you or worse. So in order to market to you they must have all your data. Haven’t you ever wondered why advertisements start to look very, very similar to what you are doing in your life? Yeah. That’s because of that (and other things)
For email, if you are technologically savvy enough you ‘could’ run your own email server which would be the safest possible solution. However, it’s not that easy. Maybe your friend could set it up, but if you don’t have such a friend, what is best is to stop supporting these companies who prey on people like this and move to something cooler. It’s really *not* that expensive to pay for email. Here is what you do:
- buy a domain like ‘your name’
- choose something cool that goes before it like ‘me’ or ‘name’
- call a company that sells domains and email (preferably in a country like Canada) and force their tech support to set it up.
Then you would have an email like this:
If it’s not available there are countless Top Level Domains (TLDs) that you can choose from and certainly one of these will be waiting for you. And it’s fun!
Just make sure that when you buy your domain and email that you have enough memory. Most of them have some kind of unlimited plan for memory so go with that. Also, make sure that it has IMAP support – I would be shocked if they didn’t but this is the email service you want. You should budget about $15/year for the domain and another $?? for email and storage. I have been really happy with Canadian Web Hosting for service and pricing if I can make a quick plug. For about $5.00/month to have safe email per person is pretty reasonable. If you have another reason to have a website, you could simply get unlimited email through your website hosting plan as well. This requires a little more skill but it’s not that hard. A friend who runs their own website should be happy to set it up for you once you purchase. I would do this for my friends…
Now you’ve got your email and your other ‘stuff’ more secure, the last discussion is the big one.
THE OPERATING SYSTEM
You need to start planning to get rid of your current operating system which is probably either Apple/mac or Microsoft Windows. These companies have compromised many things at your expense of both dollars and privacy. They do not deserve your business nor are there endless reasons to stay with them. For 99% of people they could switch 100% to a safer option and be completely happy. There are a very small number of people in niche markets like print and design and perhaps medicine where the entire industry has forced everyone to communicate with these corrupted systems. In these cases you may need to keep one computer for ‘work only’ and your ‘personal life’ should be immediately moved to a safer option.
I recommend that everyone immediately switch their desktop and laptops to Ubuntu
Ubuntu is the safest, fastest, most supported and most loved free and open source operating system in the world. Switching to Ubuntu operating system is not that difficult but it does require enough comfort and skill. It’s easy enough to learn, but if you do have access to an ubuntu community near you, you should join that community or start one yourself.
Soon Ubuntu will be ready to go for mobile devices too. This is another reason why it would be wise to consider Ubuntu.
A NEW AND SAFER INTERNET
Another important thing that we will all need to work on quickly is to create a new and community-owned internet. This is a bigger picture discussion but please also start preparing your mind for ‘mesh networks‘. I will post more here as I learn and this will be my new focus for 2017 and 2018 because what good is all this safe stuff if we are using them on unsafe platforms owned by people who have agendas that we cannot control?
Unlike previous blog posts, I’m going to start this one with two exciting tables to get you thinking. In the first table, I increased freedom and in the second table, I decreased it so that we could look at the effect, if any, on other items. Sorry, they are just image screenshots:
Someone sent me over this article written by Mark Shuttleworth, chief of Canonical – the company behind Ubuntu.
Usually, Mr. Shuttleworth writes with excitement, hope, positivity and other such forward-moving adjectives. Unlike pretty much anything else I have read written by him, this article sounded more like a dad who was forced by his disobedient kids to lay down the hard law. Just the tone alone being so different from his usual, caught my attention.
It appears that some unnamed European corporation has taken the Ubuntu code (written for free by many coders and volunteers around the world and maintained by the for-profit company Canonical at their heavy cost of time and money), done a few ‘things’ to it, and published it as ‘their own’. For full disclosure, I haven’t done any of my own research like looking at the notice of claims against them. However, what I’m picking up from the article is that the soon-to-be defendantscontributed little or nothing to the base code that made ubuntu what it is today
- invested little or no money to the ubuntu project
- decreased the quality of the user experience
- harmed the Ubuntu name
- harmed Canonical by means of all of the above
If this is true, it should not be difficult to prove monetary damages for Canonical plus I’m guessing there will be a lot of angry programmers out there who would rally beside Mr. Shuttleworth for screwing up all their volunteer work.
From a bird’s eye view it seems like a suitable analogy for this behaviour would be something like this:
Imagine a grade 5 teacher creating a cool project where the students build a gizmo that’s valuable to the world – let’s say it creates clean drinking water out of thin air. Next thing you know, all the parents and grandparents are excited about the project and start volunteering their time to help build it and make it better. Next thing you know, a company (let’s call them Company A) picks up on the project and realizes that they can help improve the project by funding certain parts plus they can make some money as well because some industries will want an industrial version of these water-makers which is out of the scope of these volunteers time/money to build or support. So Company A starts investing time and money and builds a business around it while continuing to support the kids’ gizmo proliferation around the world. Out of nowhere, Company B, which has not participated in the project at all, shows up, takes the plans that all these volunteers made and improved on over the years at the cost of their time (and at Company A’s expense, too), and starts making their own industrial water-makers. They slap their own brand on it, change one or two small things and start making money. Then problems start happening. They don’t have a volunteer base of countless thousands who can jump in to improve or fix things when they go wrong, so this makes sense. Company B then routes all the problems of their customers to Company A saying “they have support over there, I think…”
I’m guessing that there would be lots of angry kids and grandparents and most people would agree to take action to stop Company B.
The question of this soon-to-be lawsuit will probably hinge entirely on the licensing of the software. Has this European company violated any software license agreements including the free software licenses of Ubuntu? What exactly did they change? Are they guilty of changing the code or are they guilty of not supporting the code? It will be interesting to read the claim, for sure (if you like reading litigation documents)
This also got me thinking about correlation between freedom and regulation. I know that one of the main reasons why myself and others moved to Ubuntu was for the freedom. We didn’t want to be told by bullies like Apple or Microsoft how we are going to be using our hardware and who will be accessing our private information. I started thinking about un-related industries and correlations between different things when you increase or decrease freedom. I thought it would be timely to share the quick charts that I built.
(review charts above again)
As you can see from the charts, it was an interesting exercise. It seems that in most cases clear changes occur in most columns – except one. I could not determine in any instance that quality increased or decreased with the increase *or decrease* of freedom. At a glance you might quickly disagree with my conclusions, but allow me to explain them.
Drinking water: Although you may increase regulation and decrease freedom to do what you want with your drinking water, it is debatable that the government controlled waters with chlorine, fluoride, and who knows what, is better for you that this or that in a free stream of water. The long term jury is still out on this one.
Voting: To clarify I am referring simply to the freedom to vote and having a regulatory system to govern the actual elections and voting procedure. By regulating or not, does it really help improve the final product (the person you are voting for)? Point proven in recent elections in big North American country…
Guns: Perhaps you could say the quality of the actual physical gun might improve with regulation…. I don’t know enough on the topic, but it would seem to me that a nice old man building a gun in his shop could do just as well as a heavily-regulated gun factory.
Religions beliefs: the ‘negative event’ here would be something like a mass suicide with a cult. The Catholic church is heavily regulated, but is the quality of faith and the fruit of believers higher?
Marriage: I was thinking here free-love marriages versus arranged marriages. Although one might think that by choosing your spouse, instead of your parents choosing him/her might yield a higher-quality spouse/match, I believe the jury is still out on this. Look at the divorces in ‘love marriages’, for example.
So when it’s all said and done the only category where I felt freedom had a measurable impact on quality was in the realm of computer code. No one will deny that the fruity computer company typically has typically stable software which works on stable hardware. But on the other hand, very few of its users, when asked, deny that they feel stifled, controlled and possibly even spied on – if not totally ‘stuck’.
And so there seems to be a much more pronounced correlation between freedom and quality in the world of code.
And that also is why this will be a very interesting legal case to follow. Will Shuttleworth be tempted to pull in some of the freedoms of the Ubuntu code base in order to maintain the quality that Ubuntu deserves? Will a task force of lawyers be commissioned to seek and attack low quality Ubuntu publishers much like how a big proprietary corporation might do?
Until now Ubuntu has wowed the world with its ability to stay both free and yet maintain an incredibly high quality final product which I can boldly say is the same and better than competing proprietary systems in every category. The proof of this quality has been in the pudding with fast world-wide growth with more and more everyday users converting 100% to ubuntu and also in the realm of innovation (look it all up yourself because I don’t even know where to begin!).
On the one hand I’m completely in agreement that selfish individuals and corporations should be stopped in their tracks and made to pay for damaging others. On the other hand, I’m also keenly aware that the freedom of the Ubuntu code must remain of higher importance overall.
I find myself favouring the ‘whatever-it-takes-to-make-sure-ubuntu-comes-out-the-winner’ side but I will remain full open to all sides of this story.
This article on the ARRL website summarizes quite well the situation with ham radio – and radio in general.
Although it is exciting to be part of a club of radio enthusiasts around the world, one must question whether the licensing system on its own is a hindrance both to freedom and innovation.
The basic debate has these two sides:
Restrict Frequencies for Licencees
“By proving skills and taking tests, you can keep a higher quality of person on the frequencies. If we don’t do this we will have CB radio on ham frequencies”
Let Them Go
“By restricting access to the airwaves we all breath and share, you are exerting controls that should not be there – especially on a technology that enables humans to transmit data. By restricting the airwaves you are limiting both God-given freedom of speech but also innovation because the technology remains only in the hands of those who can (and will) exploit it for gain.”
Someone I know sent me this positive article about the ubuntu phone. I read it and it was nice, and probably one of the best ‘tech-focused’ articles, but as a few friends and I discussed after reading it, it’s missing some of the most important reasons why one would switch. Here are my list of reasons why one should switch:
1. Being Part of Something Meaningful
Apple sucked in a lot of victims by making their customers think they were either cool or part of something cool. They paid heavily for that entrance fee in both privacy and dollars left in the bank (and other ways). You may have noticed how important technology is in our lives, so with the Ubuntu project you can change the world by participating. You become part of a community that cares.
2. Being Somewhere Where Your Voice Matters
Have you ever rolled your eyes (or worse) at how your smart phone is really quite dumb? Have you ever wondered “how could they do this? How did they let this happen?” Then, unbelievably, the same horrible ‘feature’ is still there years later? With the Ubuntu project, the programmers and people who change stuff are *you*! Let that sink in for a bit. That’s right, you can literally be a huge part of changing Ubuntu to better match your life and needs and the life and needs of those around you. Ubuntu cares what you think.
3. Living Free
Ever felt sick and tired about how you know the ‘big boys’ are spying on you, stealing your information, and watching everything you do? Ever felt helpless and that there is nothing you can do about it because there are ‘no other choices’? Good news. You now have a choice. Ubuntu. Ubuntu frees the captives and like Moses it ‘let the people go’.
4. Being Future Proof
Ever noticed how the ‘big boyz’ (including their strategic business relationships with the big telecoms) somehow manage to make your perfectly good phone ‘out dated’? Ever thought that you’d like to buy a device that is more future proof? Ubuntu is the only choice if you want to be future proof with ‘convergence‘.
5. Nice Pillars!
Randall Ross wrote a little article that doesn’t get enough circulation. This really sums up why Ubuntu has a nice set of pillars!
I had an old ‘smart phone’ lying around and I thought about reconnecting it for one single purpose for our business. It would not phone, it would not text, it would not even go to a website and search. It’s only job would be to take a photo, and upload the photo to our private cloud storage.
Of course, I know that Google is invasive and nasty so I was sure to create a new account, without linking any of my personal contact information to the account. For the single purpose of uploading photos, surely they won’t want to know who I am, right?
I remember years ago before I had started my google exodus journey (89% complete now, btw) they had added this neat little ‘security’ feature under the log in. It was saying ‘Add a phone number to make sure you won’t ever get locked out and to make sure we can verify your identity.” That was the start of my ‘questioning’ period. Why does my email provider need my phone number? And why do other companies not ask for this? And if I give them this number, and they are connected to my telecom, will this provide tracking even if my GPS is off? Etc, etc. I remember always choosing the ‘skip’ option when this prompt came on.
It seems like skipping this option is now over.
Today while setting up this phone, I successfully:
- created a new and anonymous google account on the phone
- created fake answers to the security questions, not linked to me.
- skipped adding the phone feature
- saw the successful account creation message
Then, as I went into the google play store to download the only app I need to do the only purpose this phone will perform, there was a ‘something is wrong with your account’ message. I entered the password about 5 times and it still spewed the same error.
Finally I went to the gmail login page and tried to log in that way where I was greeted with the message “Suspicious account activity is suspected” (something like that). I then was *forced* to ‘verify my identity” with a phone number. It gave me two options: sms (text) or voice. So, I went and got my Fongo number, which works for both SMS and voice calls no problem, and I entered that and chose the SMS option.
It then spewed out a message “You can’t use this phone number.”
Really? Go figure. It’s a fully working phone number which can receive texts.
Then I chose the ‘voice call’ option since there is nothing wrong with that whatsoever. And, as long as the owner of the phone number is there to receive the call and enter in the code, the identity is verified, right?
It also would not accept my fongo number for that voice call either.
Finally, just to test the theory, I gave google one more piece of my identity. I entered my ‘big telecom’ personal cell phone number into the sms verification code window and *boom*. Instantly I received the code which I entered and the account was activated.
Now it is proven that there is no way to be part of google without giving them *undeniable proof of your identity* but even worse, your big telecom phone number.
I encourage everyone reading this to start their own google exodus journey because it’s for sure that you’ve already given them way more than you thought.
Don’t wait. Ubuntu is there as the solution and on any platform.
ps. Yes, you could probably use a pay-as-you-go phone to accomplish this account verification – I didn’t test. This would be better that what I did.
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.
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.
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.