I took some time over the long holiday weekend to finish a book I had started a few weeks ago and promptly start another related one.
Permanent Record by Edward Snowden is an eye-opening tale centering around a late 20-something NSA contractor who exposes the US Government’s mass surveillance system created after 9/11. Love him or hate him he brought to light the vast data collection of US citizens by their government.
No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwald starts up with his interview of Snowden while he hides in Hong Kong before his trove of documents is released to the public by various medial outlets. Meanwhile, Laura Poitras films a series of interviews for her documentary Citizen Four. It goes into incredible detail about the surveillance systems in use around the world, by many countries, and details just how far they have gone to invade your privacy.
If you have any interest in this kind of stuff it’s well worth your time to seek out these books or at least watch the full documentary (available on YouTube with Ads (that will track you, haha)). It will chill you to the core and make you think about what you do online going forward.
As I wrote earlier this year everyone needs to be using a Password Manager application. My favorite continues to be Bitwarden. The free version is more than enough for most people but the $10 paid version adds some advanced features and helps support the development. Getting started with a Password manager is NOT difficult and is NOT a good excuse for NOT using one. Bitwarden for Beginners is a great place to start.
NordPass just released their annual Top 200 Common Password list. It shows what people are actually using to secure their private data as well as how long it takes to crack and gain access. If your password is on the list you should assume your accounts have been compromised because you probably use the SAME password in multiple places. The benefit of a Password Manager is that you can use a different, unique, password for every account and only need to remember ONE (secure) master password/phrase. The tool generates and documents the login details for you.
Another security tool you should consider using, especially if you use your devices in public, is a personal VPN account. This tool encrypts your traffic and protects you from anyone wanting to access your data. Sounds a little overkill but it’s not uncommon for someone to sit on a public network and watch for unsecured traffic to exploit. In fact, as far back as 2013 AT&T and Starbucks encouraged it! My personal favorite is Private Internet Access (PIA) which works on all devices including your phone and tablet. An annual subscription is $39.99.
I think that just about wraps things up for this week. It’s hard to believe 2021 is 90% over & we’re getting ready to settle down into the winter months. At least I have a stack of books to go through while hunkering down inside for the next 3 months. See you next week!
After almost 2 weeks off work in December I’m ready to get back to work and make it a productive year! This week was going to be heavy on Sports until the attack on the Nation’s Capital. I thought I had seen it all in 2020 and this just topped it. I can’t believe the protesters made it all the way into the gallery. There was talk about an elected official who was part of the crowd so it’s going to be interesting to see if he was the one who opened the doors to get people into the secured areas…
The college football championship was set last week. Notre Dame was blown out by Georgia and Ohio State showed Clemson who’s boss. The Championship game is Monday evening & it’s going to be a good one. My $ is on Ohio State to take home the trophy.
Colts make the playoffs! It was a game that was a LOT closer than it should have been but the Indianapolis Colts are heading to the playoffs!
Update: Their game against the Bills yesterday was a disaster. Some really questionable plays that will most likely be a topic of discussion for fans in the weeks to come…
Finally the NCAA Tournament is going to be played in its entirety in Indiana. That’s a huge win for the city and state. It’ll be nice to see Indy in the National spotlight again.
21st century predictions. They were close to what we have today!
I didn’t take a lot of pictures this week & what I took isn’t anything that any of you would find interesting. I’ll try & do better next week.
Finally, I’ve been playing with a new (to me) distribution of Linux called “Elementary.io“. I installed it on my old 2012 Mac & it’s brought new life to the old hardware. If you’re used to the Mac OS and have an older MacBook not being used this is worth checking out. Installation is very easy and you can be up and running in 20 minutes.
Hi Everyone, I hope you’re all taking precautionary measures & staying safe. It’s going to be a rough couple of weeks but I’m positive we can overcome this and become stronger as a nation.
If you’re a small business owner or an employee of one impacted by the Pandemic I urge you to look into programs being put together by your local and regional Chambers of Commerce (even if you’re not a member). They can help you in these trying times by connecting you to resources providing assistance.
The Government is, at this time, close to approving a HUGE financial assistance program aimed at those that need it the most. It’s been a struggle to get it passed because of infighting and partisan politics. When passed the influx of cash into the economy will hopefully provide relief, however brief, and start the process of healing and recovery.
As of midnight tonight Indiana will be on a lockdown, similar to a lot of other states in the nation. I hope this helps combat the spread of Covid-19. I’m also very glad it’s a “hunker down” request so we still have the ability to go to work (for those who have essential jobs) and get groceries, etc. Everyone seems pretty calm right now, as opposed to 2 weeks ago, so I think this is a good sign.
We’ll see how things turn out in a day or two. I certainly don’t think we’ll be back to work as a Nation by Easter but if we are I’m not go to complain!
I read this in Slate the other day & it’s been really hard to forget…
Back in the early 60’s this test (PDF FILE) was given to anyone in Louisiana that could not prove at least a 5th grade education and wanted to vote. Test takers had 10 minutes to complete the test and ONE wrong answer would result in an immediate failure of the test.
Take a look at the test & let me know how you think YOU would do!