Vegard Skjefstad

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Tag: PRISM Break (page 1 of 5)

Welcome to the Fediverse

Wouldn’t it be great if you could participate on the internet without having your private data and habits sold for profit? You already can. Join the fediverse.

Imagine logging on to a social media site to discuss your anime obsession. But instead of logging on to a site owned, controlled, and monetized on by a Fortune 500 company, you log on to an instance being operated by a fellow anime fanatic in her spare time. The instance you log on to only has about 50 users, but it’s a friendly, tightly knit group of people who all share the same interest as you. No harassment, no hate-speech, no bigotry. Any bad apples not following the Code of Conduct decided by the instance administrator – “don’t be an ass” – is simply banned from participating in the discussion.

The instance you log on to is in many ways an isolated, private island. But it’s also part of a larger network consisting of hundreds of other nodes with hundreds of thousands of users. Most of the instances are owned and operated by private individuals, and together all the instances form a federation.

Welcome to the fediverse.

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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.

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Dump Google

Google shows its true colors, and removes “don’t be evil” from the code of conduct. It’s time to dump Google.

For years, Google’s been the good guys of the internet. They’ve provided great services without showing a single stick up their customers collective asses. But when they decided to go to bed with the Pentagon war machine, those of us with an ethical backbone started to feel a tiny tingle in the pooper. I covered the utterly moronic decision in the post You Might Be Helping Pentagon Train Killer Dones back in March.

Even Google’s own employees thought playing with Pentagon was a bad idea, and several thousand of them petitioned the company to end the so called Project Maven. About a dozen employees even quit the company in the wake of information about the project surfacing. But that’s a tiny drop in the vast ocean that is Google. With its 85,000 employees, a dozen resignations don’t make a difference.

Now Google has decided to go full anal fist instead, removing the well-known “don’t be evil” from its code of conduct. For me, this is a clear sign the once beloved company is heading in the wrong direction.

It’s time to dump Google.

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How to install Nextcloud on NETGEAR ReadyNAS

Once there was ownCloud. Now there is Nextcloud. It’s time to install Nextcloud on NETGEAR ReadyNAS.

If you’ve followed my 5-year-old guide How to install Owncloud on a NETGEAR ReadyNAS, you might have noticed that the ownCloud desktop client has complained about an unsupported server version for some time. ownCloud on your ReadyNAS server has been stuck on version 6, while the rest of the world has moved on to version 10. Unfortunately, the ownCloud version in the NETGEAR package repository has not been maintained, and upgrading using ownCloud’s own mechanisms has not been possible. ownCloud itself has also been through some rough times. In 2016, its founder, Frank Karlitschek, left the company, citing “moral questions”. Karlitschek went on to found Nextcloud, which is a ownCloud fork, and the file hosting software we will install now.

My particular ReadyNAS model is the 102, which uses an ARM CPU. There is no Nextcloud package in the NETGEAR package repository. This means that getting Nextcloud up and running on my ReadyNAS 102 would involve a lot of compiling, troubleshooting, and general hair pulling. Not ideal for a guy like me with a receding hairline, and I’d probably use a lot of my precious spare time that I’d prefer to prioritize differently. That’s why I’ll take the path of least resistance this time, and turn to someone who’ve gone through all those hoops already: Say hello to RNXtras.com.

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We Need to Toot About Mastodon

Is Mastodon the silver bullet, or yet another social media dud?

First of all, we’ll have to clarify one thing. This post isn’t about the American heavy metal band Mastodon. It’s about the social network Mastodon. You’d think that the creator of Mastodon (the social network) would to at least a little research before picking a name, but apparently not.

With that out of the way, let’s get on with it.

The internet is great. It makes it incredibly easy to for us to connect, share, and educate ourselves. It’s also a place where trolls breed and feed, and hate is amplified. The anonymous nature of the series of tubes that is the internet often brings out the worst in people. There are few things that will make you lose faith in humanity faster than reading comments on a random, high-traffic site on the internet.

Historically, any lack of anonymity has restrained the trolls to a certain degree. And life was good. But with the rise of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, we’ve seen that some people really don’t need anonymity to go absolutely nuts. They’ll write and share whatever they think about race, sexual orientation, global warming, and other heated topics. This has turned many social media sites into very hostile environments, and people are looking for alternatives.

So wouldn’t it be great if there was a Twitter, but without all the hate and hostility? Mastodon tries to be just that, but can it succeed?

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