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!
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
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!
Second revision: March 17, 2016
The other day I indicated to a Bible-believer friend that I would prefer to only communicate with this person (and everyone else) by means of Telegram or secured email, rather than SMS messaging or totally unsecured email. To my surprise, this person replied back that they were ‘unsure of their biblical position on privacy’.
Being quite surprised, and being who I am, I replied back in a simple email that “this is not a topic of discussion because it’s so simple” and I blasted out my points. I am not sorry for hitting this person hard with my opinion, but I am sorry, perhaps about making it sound like the dialogue was one way, and for not dedicating further explanation to my strong opinion. People like me need to remember that technology for most people is like some kind of ‘magic’. It just kind of works. And when it doesn’t work they hate it. It makes their life more convenient (so they think) and they do *not* want to change what works for them today. That’s why you will see old people emailing forwarded attachment for young people to waste their time trying to open and then regret wasting their time opening…
But as a first step, I tried to imagine what they must be thinking about in terms of a position and brought it up with another believer and he came up with these things they must be considering:
- God knows all, and my privacy exists not. If I’m not hiding from God, then why do I need to hide from people/man?
- God’s will will be done, somewhat independently of my technological choices (Though He will choose to work through man).
I now can see how thoughts like these might actually put someone in a position of inaction or even a kind of technological paralysis, if you will. Again, I understand more than anyone how making a big technological change takes time and thinking and often gets dropped down the list.
But if you claim to to believe and follow the teachings of the Bible, then you have a much different position to take and to me, this is a very simple position which I established with the following series of questions which needed to be answered:
- Is technology based in the world, or based in heaven?
- Did God warn us about end times events?
- If God gives a warning, do we heed the warning or do we go along as if He never spoke?
And so, this conversation, to me, is very similar to the conversation of “Why should I be worried about the environment if Jesus is coming tomorrow and the whole earth will be destroyed anyway?” The reason someone would take this shallow perspective about God’s wonderful creation is because the creation scriptures were either missed, or God hasn’t yet opened their eyes. But it’s certainly *not* the right way to treat the world while you are here. People who have not yet gotten serious about their privacy and security with their technology are much like those who haven’t spent the time or energy to be concerned about the environment. Yes, Jesus is coming tomorrow, but before that He has called us to be wise stewards of things while here and respect His creation. Yes, Satan is having a heyday by spying on you but there are wonderful solutions out there that are not difficult to implement. But, back to the unanswered questions above:
Is technology based in the world, or based in heaven?
It’s wordly. It’s part of the world’s system. Although it’s not in the Bible I feel confident there is no internet connection or GPS needed in heaven. Furthermore, I feel that God has given us creative minds to help protect us against evildoers and the enemy’s work against us and our families while we bring the Good News to a dying world. Another analogy I thought of was the smoke alarm. Can God save you supernaturally from the perils of fire in your home? Certainly. But he has also given us a simple device and a 9 volt battery which allows us to focus on sleeping instead of wondering if the house is on fire…. I really like that peace, but feel free to remove your smoke alarm, cowboy…
Did God warn us about end times events.
Yes. There will be a mark of the beast which will prevent you from buying, selling, and essentially living normally in this earth’s system. If you do not believe this will be facilitated by technology, you need not read further – you are out to lunch and seriously need a cold glass of water splashed in your sleepy face. It’s in the book of Revelation. I think chapter 13. Go ahead, read your Bible. You clearly have missed your quiet time…
If God gives a warning, do we heed the warning or do we go along as if He never spoke?
Now, if you thought I was being hard on you up till now, put on your seat belt. I have a strange feeling you will agree that the prophetic mark of the beast will be a technological device/system/chip/etc. The Bible also says that we will be ‘hated by all nations for the name of Jesus.” (Jesus said that somewhere). So I don’t foresee any other future for the Bible believers other than bleak in this world. That’s also why Jesus said to ‘take up our cross daily’ and why Paul said somewhere “I die daily”. This world ain’t our home sheepsters. And so eventually all of us will be persecuted and killed. Jesus promised it. It’s a guarantee. Sure, the rapture might happen before, during or after, but we can be sure that before then the enemy will be gathering digital data on who the believers are for simple one-stop destroying. If there were no options at all to prevent, slow down, hinder, make more difficult, aggravate, challenge, etc this process, I’d say lie down in a ball and do nothing because it’s over. But there are lots of easy, fun, and excellent solutions to make the process much more difficult. So, do we just go the way of the world in the treatment of our privacy and the privacy of our family, or do we take wise, active steps towards protecting this precious gift called privacy? Do you let your children change into their pyjamas in front of an open window at night time because ‘you have nothing to hide’, or do you close the blinds as a preventative measure to prevent evil behaviour towards you? Maybe you want to change naked in front of the window, but please, for the sake of your children, who rely on your wise leadership, close the blinds for them. And do the same with your digital life if not for you, for your children. God did not put these prophecies in His word *only* as a warning. A smoke alarm does not sound just to let you know the building is on fire, but to motivate you to get up and *do something*!
Jesus instructed us to be alert and to have our lamps full of oil for we know not when He is coming. This ‘being alert’ is accomplished through the intellect as well as the spirit. Jesus also said “Wow. You guys fully trust your weather network meteorologists but you can’t even see the signs of my coming!” So, Jesus gives us helpful hints along the way.
Jesus also said that your body is the temple. I believe that means that we are to do as much as possible to respect that life and preserve it for life is a gift and the life is in the blood. If you foolishly hand yourself over to be persecuted when a handy-dandy preventative tool was available, that’s just a dog gone waste, in my humble opinionatedness.
Since we are absolutely certain that persecution is coming, we must also be aware that there is a Judas in every group, unless you think that you are less susceptible than Jesus to a Judas. The Word of God also talks about how our enemies will be those people of our own families for the name of Jesus. Why do I mention this? Because it’s critical that everyone be on board with privacy-protecting technology or the weakest link will collapse the group. Especially if you are meeting in homes and looking less ‘churchy’ than the mainstreamers.
The JW’s like to look at persecution as a blessing but that’s not the blessing God is talking about. Let’s work with this quick example.
Scenario 1: You are standing beside a railroad track. You hear a train coming. You jump on the track and say “God will save me!” SPLAT! Ooops.
Scenario 2: You are standing *on* the rail road track. You hear a train coming. You stand still and take no action and say “God will save me!” SPLAT! Oops.
In both cases, you have committed sin. The first was a sin of action and the second a sin of inaction.
In my increasingly opinionated humility, I believe by not protecting the privacy of yourself and your family and putting yourself in harms way knowing now that there are ways to prevent harm – that you are not pleasing the Lord.
How about this: Let’s forget your personal pain, suffering and inconvenience related to improving your technological habits. Let’s say you just don’t care about you and that ‘God is coming soon anyway, so whatever.” By not doing your part you are definitely hurting someone else who values privacy right now, because the seeds of loosely transmitted data are always felt in a crop down the road. You are also assisting their enemies in all of their dirty work. You are *not* “assisting terrorists” as the popular media would like to deceive you into believing. No matter what way you look at this, giving freely *your* data only assists them with the task of hurting you and those around you – perhaps not today but one day. I also don’t mind a little bit of self-inflicted, but I shudder to think that lack of care about myself (ie. an unencrypted email about Jesus to my friend) might wind *them* up in jail or worse. In this case sharing is *not* caring.
Perhaps you are thinking that by handing over all your data freely that you are helping the world catch bad guys. Ok, let’s roll with that idea. Then, since you are not bad, you are actually wasting the time and computer resources of these good cops and their spy work because they are using unnecessary resources to spy on you – a good guy. If you just encrypted, they would have passed over you and moved on to the foolish criminal who didn’t encrypt and caught him quicker.
The root cause of this ‘position problem’ is not a biblical one but an earthly one. It’s one that needs to be dealt with in the earthly, soulical, intellectual way with the reasoning faculties that God gave you. The problem is also rooted in your priority set. Are you watching TV for an hour a day? You could have spent that “technology time” learning about privacy solutions instead of having the boob tube pump fear into your heart with unfounded comments like ‘assisting terrorists’. The other root cause of the problem is habits. Bad habits die really hard. The first step to stop smoking is to hear about the possibility that it might be bad for your health. This blog has now been that to you for technology. You know now. You cannot claim ignorance. The second step is to learn more to find out if it’s true. This blog is only partly that. You must now go and learn for yourself to see if what I’m saying is hogwash or beefdirt (just made that up). The third step is to take action. Do something. Don’t just hand everything over to everyone on a silver platter – it’s really unwise – and it’s not nice to people who are trying to maintain *their* right to privacy.
I know this isn’t easy. That’s why I’m writing hard to you. It takes a bit of a kick in the hindquarters to start down a new road. But here is the great news – each day gets easier. With the right people around you and with enough time dedicated, you’ll be making great choices for you and your family in no time. I hope this will spare many of you brothers and sisters a lot of future pain. I’ll do my best to blog more practical solutions here as I find time but don’t sit around and wait for me. The answers are easy to find.
And please – don’t be offended someone cuts off communication with you using technology if you refuse to remain unwilling to become proactive; You can’t expect them to put themselves or their family at risk for you when there are solutions available.
Milestones to Start (some are instant, some quick, some perhaps less quick)
Things You Can do Today to Improve
- Start hanging out with people who care about privacy. If most of your circle ‘has nothing to hide’ – you’re in deep doo-doo. Find a local Ubuntu group, for example.
- If using chatting IM apps, use Telegram. Telegram has encryption. Ditch the others ASAP. Bring your friends to Telegram when you ditch.
- Replace SMS with Telegram app wherever possible. SMS is brutally spied on.
- For email set up PGP encryption.
- Convert all your current computers to Ubuntu operating system
- Get immediately off: Facebook and Linked in and any other compromised ‘social media’.
- Ask all of your friends and family to respect you and your privacy by not asking you to participate in anything that violates your privacy (ie. unsecure email, SMS, etc)
Things you can do Today and Tomorrow (money may not permit today, but should be in plans)
- Start hanging out with people who care about privacy. If most of your circle ‘has nothing to hide’ – you’re in deep doo-doo. Find a local Ubuntu group, for example.
- When you buy your next mobile device, make sure it’s Ubuntu
- Disconnect from everything Google. And I mean *everything* (yes, it’s possible)
- Wipe the hard drives 100 times and sell or discard anything Apple/Mac
Thanks to my usual homeboys for forwarding this one. It’s simply…. MAGIC!
HELLO BARBIE which costs a mere… oh…. HUNDRED BUCKS, will also, for that small fee, spy on your children (and you as a bonus) and report its findings to an unidentified source for not-fully-disclosed purposes.
Your kid speaks to Barbie and Barbie comes back with one of EIGHT THOUSAND possible lines. That size vocabulary seems like ‘magic’. To kids, even more so.
The Smoke. The Mirrors. (new section)
Your kid’s voice (and yours if you spend any time with your kid which you will likely no longer have to do once they get this bad-boy) is ‘magically’ whisked away through your wifi connection, to a server that is not yours, where it is torn apart, analysed and then matched to a good response. The good response is sent back to Barbie who ‘magically’ speaks it to your kid.
Your kids voice is leaving your house and going into the hands of a bunch of people you don’t know. Entire conversations could be recorded and analysed by unknown groups of people with unknown motives. You put your own child at risk, you put at risk the children who hang out with your child, and you put at risk anyone within earshot of Hello Barbie’s ‘magic’.
By your child a gift without a battery or internet connection this year, or, better yet, don’t buy them anything at all and take the money you were going to spend on them and go for a nice meal out, look in their eyes, and tell them how much you love them.
Hello Barbie won’t cry about it.
Question the magic.
It just came to me. It’s a new way of thinking that needs to start happening and it needs to start happening *yesterday*. After the invention of the television, humanity started shutting off our brains. It was ‘magic’ how that visual image came through thin air into their homes.
It was ‘magic’ how the cell phones connect us to the world wherever we go.
It was ‘magic’ how the computer turns on and connects to the whole world.
It was ‘magic’ how the phone in my pocket started connecting to the whole world.
It was ‘magic’ how gmail started showing advertisements for stuff I was actually thinking about shopping for…. before I started shopping.
It was ‘magic’ how ads on google search engines started feeling very, very, very relevant to what I was searching.
It was ‘magic’ how my mobile phone just connected and synchronized photos with my computer.
It was ‘magic’ how the fob on my keychain lets me into my elevator, my front door, the amenity room, yet keeps others out.
It was ‘magic’ how if I lock my keys out of my car I was able to have some friendly folks open them remotely.
All of this and more was so ‘magic’….
It wasn’t magic at all. None of it. Not one bit of it.
It was all planned, in advance, by people behind closed doors.
And none of them told you about the risks this ‘magic’ brings to your life. Just like black magic, there is a price to pay for allowing someone else control of your life.
It’s time to question the magic.
For the first episode of QTM, allow me to introduce to you, the Em-Sense Watch.
This watch can sense pretty much anything you are touching. When it senses what you are touching, it can react accordingly (smart) and do stuff that makes your life blissful and trendy.
Do you have the source code for this? If you touch an object, does it report back to the mothership? For the IHNTH (I-Have-Nothing-to-Hide) folks, who always say ‘It doesn’t matter, IHNTH”, how about this simple question: is there anything, or anyone, that your hand has touched in the last little while that you would not want someone knowing anything about? Are you sure you have *nothing* to hide? And even if you truly don’t, which is great, by putting something like this on, you are are a walking RFID reader and transmitter. Everything you touch. Everything you are near. All of it. Tracked. Or potentially tracked. Final note: just having the name ‘Disney’ on this should be your biggest red flag *ever*. Run for the hills on this device, people.
This will probably always be the solution but in order for this technology to be of any value without being a serious risk to everyone’s privacy, it would necessitate open source software (ie. ubuntu snappy) and the ability to authorize *every* attempt to connect to anything outside of the watch itself. It would also need a feature where, if stolen, you could initiate a full remote memory wash.
A friend of mine sent me this speech (transcribed) today and I was absolutely unable to stop reading it right to the end. I found out that my browser has ‘reader mode’ which was cool, by the way.
Read this article. You’ll learn about how you are victimized but it ends with some awesome inspiration.
- Our current situation of privacy invasion
- Some super tangible and practical solutions we can start implementing
- The bigger picture of the sharing of wealth (yes, he managed to get this in as well)
“I run Mac Unix.”
“I run Windows Dos”
“I run ubuntu Linux”
“I run a Ford carburator.”
“I run Android Linux”
What the heck? Come again? None of these sentences should be occurring because these sentences contain significant branding and social fails.
But we are all a little under-educated, so I’m going to go easy on you because many people in the past have gone easy on me – including all the people referenced in this post. I’m going to put lots of reference links so we can keep coming back here as a one-stop shop. This can be your ‘Why We don’t say Linux in Social Gatherings’ post.
First a bit of a background. I have a ham radio license. That’s right. A ham radio license. And I’m proud of it. I will be able to call my ham friends when all of your telecom is down. But just because I’m a ham operator does not mean I will drop that info in just any old conversation. Nor would a lawyer admit that he was a lawyer if he was enjoying a few drinks with normal people. Get it?
This ain’t the 80s any more. In fact, it’s not even the 90s any more. We can drop the L word. Let’s begin our journey with Randall Ross’ article on exactly that topic.
But it wasn’t just Randall and myself who dropped the L word. Canonical also dropped the L word from all their material. So Canonical, who has an actual marketing department, who has made ubuntu the best OS on the planet, and who has build relationships with some of the biggest companies on the planet has dropped the L word. As per the intro of this post, you don’t see users of other operating systems walking around talking about the core engine of their operating system. It’s uneeded. It screws up the brand and the message of simplicity and complicates it. Still not convinced? No problem.
Many people who don’t drop the L word are called ‘1337’. Don’t ask me. Apparently this is not the numbers 1337 but instead means ‘leet’ or ‘elite’. In essence, it means ‘I’m arrogantly higher tech than you.’ Joe Liau wrote extensively on ‘1337’ here if you’d like to learn more and laugh a bit. It would be perhaps someone who is a ‘geek and proud of it’ in all the wrong ways. Perhaps it would be the guy who brags that he’s missing the party to go to the computer club in high school. Not cool. It’s cool that you are going to the computer club but it’s not cool that you are missing the party and it’s even more uncool that you are bragging about it. So, people who say ‘ubuntu Linux’ are technologically arrogant. Perhaps another analogy would be the two guys talking about the latest Porsche engine components or the details of the baseball players batting average. It’s obvious that very few people in front of you are going to know or care about the lingo. Engaging them in lingo you know they won’t know, you are wilfully looking big in front of someone and showing off perhaps to compensate some other insecurity. You’re disrespecting them.
Now for you folks who say ‘ubuntu is linux’ – no. It’s not. Linux is a kernel. It has taken me a while and a bunch of emails back and forth to cement this and be able to talk confidently about it but here is the analogy from a few friends of mine:
1. Linux is a kernel, not an operating system. Go to www.linux.org, get a copy of Linux and try to boot it on your computer. Hint: good luck and make sure you pack a lunch!
2. Saying “I run Linux on my computer’ is analogous to saying “I took my carburator to work.” Yes, the carb was under the hood and part of the engine that got you to work, but it was the rest of the engine, the design team on the body, the seatbelts and airbags, and stellar surround sound stereo with lots of bass that got you to work in style.
“Linux is the ‘carb’. Ubuntu is the ‘car’.”
And you can quote that and give me zero credit if you want because the revelation was built on the back of many. Although I’m very thankful for the carb, I don’t ever talk about it unless I’m at a mechanics shop or with a group of car enthusiasts out of ear shot of anyone who wouldn’t give a crap about car talk.
If you really want to see ubuntu become greater, you’ll need to take an active concern about changing some habits. We’re all guilty of misrepresenting someone or something at some point, including ubuntu. But this ain’t the 80s or 90s any more. Ubuntu is mainstream. Let’s take ubuntu from mainstream to all stream by becoming better ambassadors for the brand. For ten simple tips to improve the way you represent ubuntu see this series by Randall.
Final note since we’re talking about brand: I started using lower case ‘u’ for ubuntu since I’ve noticed that’s what the brand does. Unless it finds itself at the beginning of a sentence in which case I feel it deserves a capital.
One last time, class:
“Linux is the ‘carb’. Ubuntu is the ‘car’.
And just to be clear:
ubuntu is a Ferrari. The rest are just Pintos.
Who owns the phone in your pocket? You might be surprised to learn the truth.
Check out Randall Ross’ post and make sure to watch the video. It’s mind opening and hopefully inspiring.
I concur that there is no better hope on the planet for freedom of phone than the Ubuntu phone.
It is not often that one can be slightly ahead of a major change or curve. I like to document these moments in a blog post. Bit Coin was my last one. People thought I was crazy to accept Bit Coin at my coffee shop and just a few months (not years) afterwards people were coming back and asking, “how did you know?”
I knew because I knew.
I had already been looking into Bit Coin for years and just failed to start accepting it earlier. Inside information is just that – inside.
I have had inside information about Ubuntu for years. Naysayers of Bit Coin are the same people who naysay Ubuntu. They just naysay for the sake of naysaying . They like their fruit devices and start menus. They like RRSPs and consider a bank’s savings account an ‘investment’. But I digress…
Ubuntu (in any shape or size – and they have many) is the best kept secret this planet has seen. Actually, Ubuntu for computers is not a secret at all considering that major governments have already embraced it as well as fortune 500 companies. But Ubutu Touch, until this article was published was a very well kept secret. My close friends have been running this mobile OS for well over a year and I absolutely love it. I know *for sure* that once people actually use it there will be no turning back.
- It’s simple.
- It’s clean.
- It’s functional.
- It’s safe (if you want safe).
- It’s awesome and revolutionary.
- You will either get it now or wish you had it later.
Here is the article again