I use Firefox. One of only a small percentage of people who do these days. The market is dominated by Chrome and it’s derivatives. I could go on about how a mono-culture on web access is dangerous, or how that it would be headed by what is effectively an ad firm/data broker with little sense of ethics, but I’d be digressing.
This is about add-ons. Mostly so I don’t forget what I’m using. You’ll probably want to go back to doing something more relevant to your life at this point (videos of goats cavorting is my go-to).
uBlock Origin - blocks lots of ads* and crap. Makes the web faster to browse.
Privacy Possum - reduces and/or falsifies data gathered by tracking companies.
Privacy Badger - learns to block invisible trackers.
Firefox Multi-Account Containers - lets you run each website in isolation.
Facebook Container - wraps Facebook automatically and generally screws with their tracking elsewhere on the web.
Decentraleyes - Messes with CDN (Content Delivery Network) delivery. Third parties that host web content and may monetise your data.
ClearURL’s - Removes tracking elements built into links and URL’s themselves.
HTTPS Everywhere - Just removed this one as the feature is now built into Firefox. Warns you when you load insecure websites (any password would be transmitted as plain text).
*I have no problems with seeing ads. I ran a site for a decade that depended on them for revenue. But those were topical, self-hosted and did not contain any trackers. Alas, many modern ad services are kinda shitty about that stuff.
Listening to: Tom Tom Club - Genius of Live Photo: Home on a Sunny Day (built around 1913)
The CBC has an opinion piece posted “Digital privacy law is being updated for the first time in decades, and it’s imperative we get it right” about the upcoming digital privacy bill C-11. It’s important.
People’s lives are their own and they should have control on who has access to the details of it. Let’s not let the corporate mono/duopolyies decide.
Listening to: Lisa Mitchell - Coin Laundry (Video).
One week until Facebook (finally) deletes my account. It’s only been used once or twice during the last year so there is no need to keep a big database of personal information online. Instagram has been deleted for awhile as have many other commercial services. Google is mostly detached, I just need to transfer some final online account contacts to my personal e-mail first (which is hosted by Protonmail).
Instead, a few of us are talking about starting our own local social network, probably something based on Mastodon. The intent is to provide a private place for marginalised local communities to communicate safely. DIY bands could promote without the platform artificially restricting their audience (because $$). Conversations about what kind of privacy model to use are ongoing but the tech groundwork has started. I posted before about Fosstodon’s Code of Conduct being a good model, and perhaps it’s one to adopt. There’s also talk of our own video streaming server. That’d be fun. Anything to do with encoders and codecs makes makes me wiggly (hey, judge not lest ye be…).
First up on my personal list is a Matrix instance to use for messaging. Given the recent news that WhatsApp is forcing users to quit or have their data sent to parent Facebook,
I suspect most won’t care some local folks may want a privacy-respecting alternative. Especially those in marginalised communities. It’s super easy to use with apps for every platform.
There is an argument to be made that some of this comes off a little paranoid. Perhaps. But it also means I get to do a lot of learning while regaining control over aspects of my life. In a increasingly globalised world
that seems to be spiralling out of control, one could argue it’s may even be good for one’s mental health.
Naw, it’s about the dorking.
Listening to: Kate Bush - Live at Hammersmith Odeon (video)
RSS readers. I just spoke to somebody who didn’t know what one was and said I’d write it up (hi there!).
An app which pulls in an overview of articles recent posted from any number of sites. Saves a bucketload of time as you can just click open the full text of interesting items to read and skip the chaff. Podcast apps use a similar structure.
Many sites, especially personal blogs like this, will have a square icon with three curves in it (mine is over on the navigation box). Clicking will open up a page of dork code or what looks like garbage text (it’s really called XML). Entering that page URL into a RSS Reader will give you content and update it every time you open your app, looking for new posts. That’s the manual method, each platform and app will have it’s own style. Some organisations even have a nice index page of all feeds by subject https://www.cbc.ca/rss/ and clicking on one will automatically add it to some readers.
It’s common software for any platform and I’m sure a quick search will turn up a few for whatever you’re running. There are also sites which act as portals for your feed (read the fine print). I’ve never found a need to pay for one, but use open-source software. Your call. If you do go free or open source, perhaps kick beer money to the developer if you’re flush. They like that.
Sometimes a site will “lose” the link to the feed, taking the icon off the site. It doesn’t mean the feed isn’t being generated, but that somebody
thought it didn’t make enough money screwed up the coding. If you look in “common places” you’ll often find it there anyway. /index.xml, /rss/, /feed/ etc. Some search engines will pull the direct URL up as well.
Many big sites have eliminated them despite almost every CMS (content management system) supporting the feed structure. Reasons vary, but many want you to surf the site so they can monetise your visit with ads or by selling the personal data you generate.
More info: Wikipedia RSS Entry
Who reads those massive license agreements you click “OK” to when signing up for a site? The documents which end with “reserve the right to change terms at any time without notice”, making the entire previous ten pages moot. Not me either, and I’m a bit of a masochist when it comes to that kind of thing, life’s just too short.
tosdr.org aims to change that for you. It rates the various agreements with standard A-E grading and provides some details as to what each demands of you and your personal information. Spoiler: It’s all rather horrifying.
ps. That’s an old photo I took of real Canadian mud (as in “clear as”). If you watch Stargate you’ll see Teal’c lying in it at one point. You’re welcome.
Listening to: Petrol Girls
What to do (on Christmas day) during a worldwide pandemic? Omnipresent rainfall. There are only so many movies, books and video games one can consume. The cat is gently snoring. Not a care.
TV turns you into a pasty mushroom (fight me).
The oven is clean. The cat is brushed. Dog got his Christmas morning walk. Finished my “box a day” unpacking from a recent move. Bathroom clean.
Let’s make a website.
Do it the hard way so as to use as much time as possible. Linux, Nginx, SSL certs, SSH keys, Hugo, Typora and markdown. It’s been a couple of decades since the last site.
NEED another cookie. The upstairs neighbour has been baking shortbread. Must politely beg for more. Or drive-by snatch (just one) when doing laundry. Life’s ethical dilemmas.