Kyle Piira boosted

A recent article on a big tech news site included this phrase:

"[...] Linux phones like the PinePhone, [...]are full of closed-source firmware from non-open components"

We'd like to clear the record: The #PinePhone has two blobs -- neither runs on the main SoC: One loaded to WiFi/BT module, other enclosed within the cell modem. In the modern world of tech, both blobs are unavoidable.

For an overview from someone with deep knowledge of both the PinePhone and Librem 5: tuxphones.com/yet-another-libr

Kyle Piira boosted

Elisa is a new KDE music player that's being worked on and I really like the look of it.

community.kde.org/Elisa

Kyle Piira boosted

So, SourceHut is not hosted in anyone's cloud. I own all of the hardware outright and colocate most of it in a local datacenter.

I just built a new server for git.sr.ht, and boy is she a beat. It cost me about $5.5K as a one-time upfront cost, and now I just pay for power, bandwidth, and space, which runs about $650/mo for *all* of my servers (10+).

Ran back of the napkin numbers with AWS's price estimator for a server of equivalent specs, and without even considering bandwidth usage it'd cost me almost TEN GRAND PER MONTH to host JUST that server alone on AWS.

AWS is how techbro startups pile up and BURN their investor money.

Kyle Piira boosted
Kyle Piira boosted

The plurality of Linux distros is often spotlighted as some kind of issue. I agree that "fragmentation" is a marketing headache, but a technical one?

I don't think so.

Using Linux is (to me) inherently about choice. My choice, your choice, other people's choice. People choice to approach things in different ways for different reasons for different results. To experiment. To push boundaries. Reinvent. Rethink.

Linux is, for me, a momentum or a force, not a standardised end product or ideal.

The thing I think is funny about DRM is that media companies spend millions on building it, but at the end of the day it can all be undone by any 12 year old with some screen recording software.

Decided to enable the feature to delete everything after 15 failed login attempts on my phone.

Kyle Piira boosted

@kyle The prospect of something like sudden account termination scares the hell out of me, but I'm still very invested with Google. I remain only through some combination of fear, procrastination, and denial. A dangerous trifecta!

Can I just say that I really like the new style for Firefox tick boxes.

Kyle Piira boosted

@kyle I just installed the WordPress ActivityPub plugin to my blog. This is my first ActivityPub enabled blog post!

wordpress.org/plugins/activity

Kyle Piira boosted

So I was recently asked why I prefer to use free and open source software over more conventional and popular proprietary software and services.

A few years ago I was an avid Google user. I was deeply embedded in the Google ecosystem and used their products everywhere. I used Gmail for email, Google Calendar and Contacts for PIM, YouTube for entertainment, Google Newsstand for news, Android for mobile, and Chrome as my web browser.

I would upload all of my family photos to Google Photos and all of my personal documents to Google Drive (which were all in Google Docs format). I used Google Domains to register my domain names for websites where I would keep track of my users using Google Analytics and monetize them using Google AdSense.

I used Google Hangouts (one of Google’s previous messaging plays) to communicate with friends and family and Google Wallet (with debit card) to buy things online and in-store.

My home is covered with Google Homes (1 in my office, 1 in my bedroom, 1 in the main living area) which I would use to play music on my Google Play Music subscription and podcasts from Google Podcasts.

I have easily invested thousands of dollars into my Google account to buy movies, TV shows, apps, and Google hardware devices. This was truly the Google life.

Then one day, I received an email from Google that changed everything.

“Your account has been suspended”

Just the thing you want to wake up to in the morning. An email from Google saying that your account has been suspended due to a perceived Terms of Use violation. No prior warning. No appeals process. No number to call. Trying to sign in to your Google account yields an error and all of your connected devices are signed out. All of your Google data, your photos, emails, contacts, calendars, purchased movies and TV shows. All gone.

I nearly had a heart attack, until I saw that the Google account that had been suspended was in fact not my main personal Google account, but a throwaway Gmail account that I created years prior for a project. I hadn’t touched the other account since creation and forgot it existed. Apparently my personal Gmail was listed as the recovery address for the throwaway account and that’s why I received the termination email.

Although I was able to breathe a sigh of relief this time, the email was wake up call. I was forced to critically reevaluate my dependence on a single company for all the tech products and services in my life.

I found myself to be a frog in a heating pot of water and I made the decision that I was going to jump out.

Leaving Google

Today there are plenty of lists on the internet providing alternatives to Google services such as this and this. Although the “DeGoogle” movement was still in its infancy when I was making the move.

The first Google service I decided to drop was Gmail, the heart of my online identity. I migrated to Fastmail with my own domain in case I needed to move again (hint: glad I did, now I self host my email). Fastmail also provided calendar and contacts solutions so that took care of leaving Google Calendar and Contacts.

Here are some other alternatives that I moved to:

Gmail → Fastmail → Self-hosted (via Cloudron)
Google Contacts → FastmailNextcloud Contacts
Google Calendar → FastmailNextcloud Calendar
Google Search → BingDuckDuckGo
Google Maps → Bing MapsOpenStreetMaps and OsmAnd
Google Analytics → Matomo Analytics
Google Drive → Nextcloud Files
Google Photos → Nextcloud Files/Gallery
Google Docs → Collabora Office (Nextcloud integration) and LibreOffice
Google Play Music → Spotify / PlexSpotify / Jellyfin
Google Play Movies/TV → PlexJellyfin
Google Play Audiobooks/Books → Audible/Kindle
Google Play Store (apps) → F-Droid / Aurora Store
Google Android → Lineage OSUbuntu Touch on PinePhone (coming soon?)
Google’s Android Apps → Simple Mobile Tools
Google Chrome → Mozilla Firefox
Google Domains → Hover
Google Hangouts → Matrix and Nextcloud Talk
Google Allo → Signal
Google Podcasts → PocketCastsAntennaPod
Google Newsstand → RSS
Google Wallet → PayPal and Cash App

Migrating away from Google was not a fast or easy process. It took years to get where I am now and there are still several Google services that I depend on: YouTube and Google Home.

Eventually, my Google Home’s will grow old and become unsupported at which point hopefully the Mycroft devices have matured and become available for purchase. YouTube may never be replaced (although I do hope for projects like PeerTube to succeed) but I find the compromise of using only one or two Google services to be acceptable.

At this point losing my Google account due to a mistake in their machine learning would largely be inconsequential and my focus has shifted to leaving Amazon which I use for most of my shopping and cloud services.

The reason that I moved to mostly FOSS applications is that it seems to be the only software ecosystem where everything works seamlessly together and I don’t have to cede control to any single company. Alternatively I could have simply split my service usage up evenly across Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple but I don’t feel that they would have worked as nicely together.

Overall I’m very happy with the open source ecosystem. I use Ubuntu with KDE on all of my computers and Android (no GApps) on my mobile phone. I’ve ordered the PinePhone “Brave Heart” and hope to one day be able to use it or one of its successors as a daily driver with Ubuntu Touch or Plasma Mobile.

I don’t want to give the impression that I exclusively use open source software either, I do use a number of proprietary apps including: Sublime Text, Typora, and Cloudron.

https://www.kylepiira.com/2020/01/09/why-i-quit-google/

Kyle Piira boosted

Is giving up Big Tech for "tech veganuary" a thing yet? 😄

"Tech veganism" by @nolan
nolanlawson.com/2019/05/31/tec

Kyle Piira boosted

people were talking about the millennium bug recently, well it turns out a lot of the fixes just delayed the problem to 2020

"Programmers wanting to avoid the Y2K bug had two broad options: entirely rewrite their code, or adopt a quick fix called “windowing”, which would treat all dates from 00 to 20, as from the 2000s, rather than the 1900s. An estimated 80 per cent of computers fixed in 1999 used the quicker, cheaper option."

"Those systems that used the quick fix have now reached the end of that window, and have rolled back to 1920. Utility company bills have reportedly been produced with the erroneous date 1920, while tens of thousands of parking meters in New York City have declined credit card transactions because of the date glitch."

newscientist.com/article/22292

Kyle Piira boosted

We have computed the very first chosen-prefix collision for SHA-1. To put it in another way: all attacks that are practical on MD5 are now also practical on SHA-1.

We have reduced the cost of a collision attack from 2^64.7 to 2^61.2, and the cost of a chosen-prefix collision attack from 2^67.1 to 2^63.4.

Demo: The legacy branch of GnuPG (version 1.4) is vulnerable. We have created two PGP keys with different UserIDs and colliding certificates.

sha-mbles.github.io/

Kyle Piira boosted
Kyle Piira boosted

If you don't like what Facebook is doing, consider joing the the #OpenStreetMap Foundation, to help set _some_ #OSM policy direction (though OSM is happily quite anarchistic).

I beat the FB candidate for the board by 1 vote a few weeks ago, so every little helps!

join.osmfoundation.org/

If you have an Android phone and are looking for FOSS alternatives to system apps, take a look at Simple Mobile Tools.

simplemobiletools.com/

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