Shuttersparks

Welcome to my musings on whatever topic catches my eye, plus stories, recipes, handyman tips, welding, photography, and what have you. Oh, and analog/digital hardware design, and software. Please comment on the blog post so everyone who visits can see your comments.

Category: Announcement (page 1 of 5)

Protonmail IP Logging

Around the end of May 2019, a scandal erupted around Protonmail, the encrypted email service, associated with the CERN laboratory, and based in Switzerland. I keep running into this sensational item on social media and am weary of debunking it over and over. So, here’s a blog post about it.

This tempest in a teapot stems from a misleading tweet made by a Swiss lawyer, Martin Steiger, where he states that Protonmail “voluntarily offers assistance for real-time surveillance.” This came from a statement he heard in a meeting. The tweet made it sound like Protonmail offers surveillance to anyone who asks, or even offers it unasked for, so everyone freaked out.

What’s the truth? It’s actually pretty boring. All Swiss-based providers of Internet services are required by law to assist law enforcement when ordered to do so by a court of law. This is the same in virtually every country.

What was said and meant in the meeting that Mr. Steiger attended was that Protonmail cooperates with law enforcement when ordered to do so by a court without fighting the court order. The word “voluntarily” meant that Protonmail complies with Swiss law without objecting.

In the case of Protonmail, cooperating means IP logging, which is all Protonmail can do. The system is designed so they cannot decrypt the contents of emails.

Everything clear now?

Patents

Announcing a new page. In recent weeks, my patent “legacy” has come into the conversation. Looking them up is clumsy and time consuming, so I gathered the most interesting ones and published them on a WordPress page here, along with PDFs of the full patents. Now, I can send just one link.

https://shuttersparks.net/patents/

Sorted List of Favorite Albums

As time passes, this list gradually evolves and moves around a bit. This is my list as of April 24, 2019.

Pulse (Pink Floyd)
Aqualung (Jethro Tull)
Emerson, Lake, & Palmer (ELP)
Aja (Steely Dan)
Tarkus (ELP)
The Division Bell (Pink Floyd)
Led Zeppelin II (Led Zeppelin)
Led Zeppelin IV (Led Zeppelin)
Fragile (Yes)
Trilogy (ELP)
Chicago 9 (Chicago)
Minstrel in the Gallery (Jethro Tull)
Romantic Warrior (Return to Forever)
Physical Graffiti (Led Zeppelin)
Madman Across the Water (Elton John)
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Elton John)
Electric Ladyland (Jimi Hendrix)
Elegant Gypsy (Al DiMeola)
Abbey Road (The Beatles)
Friday Night in San Franciso (Paco de Lucia, Al DiMeola, John McLaughlin)
Close to the Edge (Yes)
Blood Sweat & Tears (Blood Sweat & Tears)
Heavy Weather (Weather Report)
Brain Salad Surgery (ELP)
Thick as a Brick (Jethro Tull)
Houses of the Holy (Led Zeppelin)
Blind Faith (Blind Faith)
The Doors (The Doors)
Led Zeppelin III (Led Zeppelin)
John Barleycorn Must Die (Traffic)
The White Album (The Beatles)
Led Zeppelin I (Led Zeppelin)
Machine Head (Deep Purple)
Works Volume 1 (ELP)
Selling England by the Pound (Genesis)
The Six Wives of Henry VIII (Rick Wakeman)

Please post your list or other comments below.

Blogger Export Broken

Hmm. There’s a WordPress plugin that makes transferring a blog from Google’s Blogger to WordPress quite easy. I’ve used it before. Unfortunately, this plugin does not work with WordPress MultiSite. So, I decided to use the manual method of using Blogger’s export function to export to a file, then import the file into WordPress. This is very straightforward. Whereupon, I discovered that Blogger’s export function has been broken for several months with no apparent effort on Google’s part to fix it. Isn’t that oddly interesting?

My Recent Absence

I apologize for my recent absence. Most of you can probably guess the reason. The death of Google+ has weighed heavily on me since October, both dealing with the horror of losing G+ but then desperately, relentlessly, trying platforms, chasing friends and followers, and connecting with as many as possible. People I deal with in person here probably don’t even know that they were only dealing with my “autopilot personality”. I wasn’t even there, as my mind was on other things.

The past three weeks have been consumed by the Archive Team project to capture all of G+ for the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. Google+ is the biggest project the team has ever undertaken and it was on a tight deadline. Early on, things were obviously going too slowly. Fortunately, many people volunteered to help in the final few days and we nearly completed the project. We got 98% of all G+ profiles and over 90% of communities.

During the final two days, Google was throttling our access, else we would have gotten 100%. It would be a lie to say that it wasn’t exciting. We were driven like madmen, 24/7. A lot of brains and money donations were put together, and the Archive Team repeatedly, many times, pulled off heroic exploits to get it all done despite the obstacles and with limited funding. 1.43 petabytes (1.43 million gigabytes) is A LOT of data to find storage for on fast machines with fast 10G connections, and do it with almost no money. At times, the data rate reached 50 gigabits per second, which is also a tribute to Google’s impressive infrastructure.

The final few days were pretty much hell, combined with the grief of losing G+. I completely lost my appetite for food. I normally listen to a wide range of music, especially classical. The past few days, the only music I could tolerate was mindless Chill Wave. Hah.

Some efforts to save remaining communities is underway but the window is rapidly closing. Google is deleting everything very quickly. One of the major communities that was missed was NASA. A short while ago, just as the URL list was ready and it was about to be rescued, Google deleted the community. Gone.

My G+ account was shut down about ten hours ago, and I’m finally coming back to life. Appetite for food has returned. Now begins, for me, a new form of social networking, without G+.

If you didn’t catch it on the once great G+, I can be found here:

Friendica (Federated): shuttersparks@social.isurf.ca

MeWe: mewe.com/i/phillandmeier

Twitter: @KW2P

Some Favorite TV Channels Will Stop Working

But don’t be alarmed.

The title sounds like click-bait but it’s true. All around the USA, during 2019, some TV channels will stop working. This is because the FCC has ordered them to change to a different frequency. In my area, there are four channels, including PBS that will be changing frequency. This may happen several times during the year in your area since different TV stations have different dates for implementing the change.

Fortunately, it’s no big deal nowadays. When your favorite channel “disappears”, just tell your TV to rescan for channels. It will find the new frequency and everything will be fine.

The change is something of a hassle for the transmitters themselves. It requires changes and adjustments to their equipment and modification or replacement of their antenna(s). But this doesn’t affect you.

The NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) has a web site here http://www.tvanswers.org/ to help with your questions. You can enter your zip code and get a list of coming changes in your area by station and date.

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