Vegard Skjefstad

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2018

It’s the last day of 2018. Somehow time managed to move at a relatively steady pace for another year.

In summary, MMXVIII was the year that…

  • I wrote and published 79 posts, 40 more than last year.
  • Google continued to alienate people like me, their more privacy aware costumer base. And I continued my mission to tell the world about their shenanigans: You Might Be Helping Pentagon Train Killer Drones and Dump Google are among the posts I wrote about the subject.
  • (On that note, I also added a few more posts to my PRISM Break series.)
  • We had long, cold, and snowy winter, followed by an abnormally hot and sunny summer.
  • The anti-vaccionation idiots continued to recruit more mindless drones, and I wrote a post about the morons: Don’t Speculate. Vaccinate!
  • I spent 14 wonderful weeks at home in parental leave with Daughter Two Point Oh.
  • I covered about 300 (~186 miles) by bike delivering and picking up the kids at their kindergarten during my parental leave.
  • Self-driving cars got a lot of bad press, mainly because they started killing people. Personally, I love the idea of autonomous vehicles – preferably the non-killing kind – and I wrote a few (wolf in sheep’s clothing-style) posts about the subject.
  • Stellaris was the game I sunk most time into. I’m not sure exactly how many hours I spent taking over the galaxy this year, but my total playtime is now at 214 hours. Yikes!
  • I made my first Firefox extension, the Google Translate Firefox Extension, that 271 people and I are using on a regular basis. Yes, I still use some Google services. Getting out of their sphere takes time.
  • November and December was full of home-with-sick-kids-days. I look forward to when their immune systems get up to speed.
  • Excessive energy drink consumption continued to kill people all around the world. But that didn’t scare me, and I briefly considered getting back into the energy drink review business. While that never actually happened, I wrote notes about a dozen different energy drinks. Perhaps one day the notes will see the light of day.
  • I thought I was taking a break from writing on this site, but it turned out I just had to burp.
  • After two years with the lovely Independent Publisher theme, the site got a design overhaul, and is now running a slightly modified version of Anders Norén‘s Hoffman.
  • I ran 349 kilometers (~217 miles) on the treadmill, and ended the year with an inflamed heel. Feels a lot better now, though.
  • The kids brought all kinds of germs from the kindergarten, and I was out with the stomach flu for three days. Good times.
  • Twitter continued its transition into a breeding place for all kinds of hate, which made me look for alternatives. I found Mastodon, which I dismissed as a dud at first. But now I find myself gravitating more and more towards it, and the user base is growing. To make the Mastodon even more approachable, I helped translate the Mastalab Android app to Norwegian.
  • I turned 40! Time sure flies when you’re having fun.
  • We went to the Kristiansand zoo and amusement park, and Daftö during the summer.
  • I wrote a record number of opinion pieces, also known as “ramblings”, something I guess is part of turning into an old fart. Here are a few of the posts: When Will Marcus & Martinus Take Social Responsibility?, Why Not The Sun?, and Electric Cars Are Total Nonsense!
  • The 2018 FIFA World Cup was played in Russia, and I once again tried my luck at some sports betting. The result? I lost everything.
  • I didn’t watch a single F1 race. That slick bastard Lewis Hamilton won the championship again, so it turned out ignoring the series for another year was a good choice.
  • I followed through on the A Book A Month project. In total, I read 17 novels and short stories this year. I even wrote a post summarizing my year of reading.
  • The A Picture A Day archive grew with one picture a day, exactly as planned.
  • I became a doomsday prepper of sorts.
  • Facebook decided to screw their users numerous times, which resulted in me deleting my Facebook account (again). You should to it, too.
  • A few new one-liners were added to the one-liners collection on the first of every month. The collection now contains 1,813 one-liners.
  • And least, but not last: The entire world didn’t go completely to shit, which is good. But the forecast looks greyer than it did at the beginning of the year.

All in all, 2018 was perfectly uneventful. Here’s to 2019 being just the same. Happy new year, everyone!

Here are summaries from previous years: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005 and 2004.

Find Free Photos Firefox Extension

I made a Firefox extension that makes it easy as pie to find high quality, free photos online straight from the Firefox address bar. Awesome!

Earlier this year, I discovered that the internet overflowed with free, high quality photos. The revelation was documented in a post appropriately titled Find Free High Quality Photos Online. Ever since, I’ve used the sites I discovered to find great photos to use to freshen up the posts I publish on this site.

But searching each site manually is very inconvenient. What if there was an easier way? Now there is!

Presenting: The Find Free Photos Firefox Extension!

By installing my brand new Find Free Photos Firefox Extension, you can quickly search Pexels, Unsplash, Pixabay, and Kaboompics straight from the Firefox address bar.

Just open a new browser window or tab, and enter ffp YOUR KEYWORDS, for example ffp mountain range. This will open a few new tabs, and search for your keywords on the photo sites. Easy as pie. Please note that the extension is dumb as a rock, so it won’t reuse the same tabs the if you do a new search. Instead, new tabs will be opened.

The source code is available over at GitHub; https://github.com/vskjefst/find-free-photos-ff-extension. Pull requests are always welcome.

A Picture A Day 2018

In 2013, I began taking a picture every day, and posting them on this site. It’s Instagram, only not, which suits me very well considering how I just deleted my Facebook account1. With only a few days of the year left, it’s time for the annual A Picture A Day summary. This year, there are quite a few pictures of our kids (surprise, surprise), the particularly snowy winter, and some mandatory sunrises and sunsets.

As always when I make these A Picture A Day recaps, I encourage you to start taking a picture every day as well. I’ve only been doing it for 5 years, but the archive is already full of fond memories.

Without further ado, here is a snapshot of my 2018 as depicted by a few selected top shots from this year:

Want to know what the previous years looked like? They are all here: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, and 2013.

Delete Your Facebook Account Today

So you’re still on Facebook? Here are three good reasons why you should delete Facebook today.

It’s been a rough year for Facebook. First, it was the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. Whistleblowers revealed that personal information from over 87 million Facebook users was sold to Cambridge Analytica, a political data analysis firm that had worked for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Then it turned out Facebook had been scraping call and text message data with its Android apps for years. Everything was stored in Facebook’s databases.

And now, The New York Times has revealed internal Facebook documents that show the social network gave Microsoft, Amazon, Spotify and others far greater access to people’s data than it has disclosed. In some cases, companies were allowed to read, write and delete users’ private messages, and to see all participants in a message thread.

Read more

Stellaris 2.2 with MegaCorp

Your favorite science-fiction RTS has received yet another major game mechanics overhaul, and a brand new expansion. Here’s my Stellaris MegaCorp review.

Stellaris was just updated to version 2.2. In the same breath, Paradox also released an accompanying expansion, MegaCorp. The expansion, as the name implies, gives you the opportunity to play as the CEO of a megacorporation, and it adds a new city world planet type, more megastructures, a couple of new ascension perks, and access to the galactic slave market.

The MegaCorp expansion goes hand in hand with the significant changes to the Stellaris economy model, and planetary management mechanics.

Stellaris MegaCorp launch trailer.
Read more

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