A Time To Reflect

As I write this I realise that this blog as been neglected for a long time. Most of last year was spent doing other stuff like work and stuff around the home, I also got lazy with this kind of thing. I even forgot to go on holiday. But the past few weeks I have spent alot of time doing computer stuff. Things went wrong, sometimes big time which meant stuff had to be done and I learnt a lot. My nexus 5 and Samsung s5 have both died, the s5 seems to hate the winter cold so goes into hibernation. This as led to a new addition, oneplus 3t, why not the 5 or 5t? simple, it was far cheaper to buy a year old phone than a newer model. I haven’t got around to rooting it yet, no time but somehow I managed to unlock the bootloader and couldn’t move on to the next stage. I swore and left it for now. The battery life is so much better, however I am still looking for a decent news app.

The new Firefox with its new engine also meant changes, basically nit screwed up everything and I’ve stopped using it. I think there was no thought for what people wanted. I can’t use my yubikey, password manager (no I ain’t using the built in one). This meant two things, the first I went straight over to Vivaldi and no complaints. The second was that due to the yubikey no longer working I was unable to access my nextcloud box. This meant starting again with that, I decided to give nextcloudpi a try, after much messing about and issues I was successful with the developer being a huge help with the issues. I now have access on all my devices and the latest version unlike the official nextcloud box pi3 version I had before which quite frankly although OK wasn’t meant for ease of use.

With the end of 2017 comes the unease of mind that the pebble servers will be shut down. The ex head of pebble claimed about a month ago that he wasn’t sure when the server would go but I am not taking chances, I’ve moved to gadgetbridge. I have had very few issues, the one at the moment is dealing with double notifications from inbox. I also seem to have lost canned responses. I do miss snowy and voice replies.

I hope to do more detailed posts over the coming weeks on the above subjects.

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A Year In Review 2016

This is the last day of 2016, a year that can easily be labeled not very good. We have lost a number of talented famous people and some not so. It has been a poor year in my mind for great advances in tech and has far as I am concerned. This may be due to developers losing interest in projects or lack of time and money. Each day as seen reports of companies and websites being broken into by criminals and information stolen. Each week it seems to bring reports of companies such as pebble for example running into trouble and disappearing. Apps which people love seem to disappear or are no longer developed and having to be replaced by others for various reasons. Sometimes it is worth while to stick with the original because there is nothing better, although there will be the risk that insecurities will not be dealt with these due to no updates.

For those who watch the security alerts it is obvious that the Internet is becoming a battle ground. Not just due to data breaches but governments trying to control by denying access or in some cases such as the UK snoopers charter taking away our internet freedoms. Berners-Lee, the inventor of the internet as said that it may be time to start work on its replacement. I don’t see things getting any better!

I would not be surprised if 2017 saw things get worse and it will be up to the individual to take care of things themselves through the use of VPN’s and email accounts such as Protonmail, etc. If using these services it is likely that the user will have to pay to get full advantage but I think it is worth it because costs that the companies have for development and server costs need to be covered. A simple search should bring sites up that will compare the offerings and the user can then pick what is right for them. I understand from my readings that some countries try and restrict access to these services and certain apps. It is from this that I suggest that the internet will become a battle ground. Users will be looking for security and privacy, governments will be looking to restrict access to apps and the internet in general with surveillance common place. And on top of that users including companies will have attacks coming from criminals, overseas governments, etc trying to access their data.

So what is there to brighten the mind? Some good stuff as become available, the first thing that comes to mind is the nextcloud box which I have written about. This gives the user the opportunity to store their data such as documents and photos on their own server which is possible to keep disconnected from the internet but still available to devices on the home network. This device also as the ability to be a hub for IoT but I have not explored yet as I need to fix connection issues. The forking, disappearance of or in some cases, the ending or risk of ending of the services for some devices such as pebble and also software such as cyanogenmod has seen the communities come together to keep the projects alive. We saw this with libreoffice for example and the end result as been a much better product so 2017 could become a make or break year for some projects with some becoming much better or just the life of the hardware being extended. There are many projects that are flourishing and I hope they are successful in making a difference. I hope to cover some as I find the ones that are of use in my day to day life.

What off wearables? These always had a limited market so I am not surprised sales tailed off somewhat. I am suspecting there are a number of reasons but the main one could well be that most people don’t care or see the advantages of them, or simply have no need for them. Most people only seem to care for facebook which I hate with a passion! Wearables seem to be of more interest to those who like tech and see the advantages. I would not be surprised if the sales of these devices stayed low, but watch this space as they say.

On a personal level I have seen several apps and services die away or simply become of less use. Currently I seem to be developing a new system of interconnected devices that suit my needs. Privacy being a main point with a day course in the summer and an on line course currently in progress. I’ve also got my hands on some new books to enable me to advance further and hopefully answer some question that will allow the completion off some projects. The only way to shape the future is to improve on what we have and make things more secure. Hopefully I will be able to fix the issues I currently I have an post the result to fix the problems.

Forcehawk

2014, From My Point of View

As I look back over the past year I have noticed much, both in how I interacted with tech/linux and how others have. I have noticed that there have been some changes by those who care and nothing by those who just cann’t be bothered.

I don’t know if its me but the internet has got less interesting to myself, I seem to be finding less that is new. By this, I am referring to the lack of things that are new or exciting and everything seems to be not much different. This saddens me because there is potential for technology to be advanced for the better with individuals/users being able to adapt their stuff for their own personal situations. I do however, think that those who would do this are finding it difficult to find the time. I am also noticing that the big corporations seem to be locking their users into their systems much more. Not just Apple but Google as well. Google seem to be making it more difficult for people to have things how they want (for example the gmail app settings). I was however pleasantly surprised by the antics of Microsoft. They have not only released Android apps which give some features not otherwise available but they have open sourced things like .NET. It will be interesting what they do over the next 12 months.

On a personal point I have been having fun with my pebble watch and trying to get it and my phone set up to make my life easier with automation and other things. My Nexus 7 seems to have slowed somewhat but I will hopefully get that fixed over the next week or so after some research on how to fix it. I can currently see the potential of several projects that I have in mind but these take time in research and to set up but the results should be pleasing.

Forcehawk