I’m from the North East, so I know a bit about winter. By now we’d be getting a scant few hours of low sunshine a day, making it easy to relate to the ancestors with their fears that the sun might never return. Here in sunny California, I felt a different sort of chill this week, spending too much time on social media. Until something shifted. All the people I follow can be a different sort of holiday light. Whether a blaze of anger over an injustice, or a glow of creativity, the admirable actions of so many around me festoon my thoughts with pinpricks of hope.
So yes, as one looks into privacy, security and a lot of other adjacent issues it can be depressing. Lots of truly terrible real threats exist. You know how I know? Because a lot of wonderful people have dedicated their lives to making sure people like me know about them and can take action. Bad news as a net comfort, after all?
So back up your data, update software and when scanning for news pay attention not just to the information but to the people who’ve put it together. We’ve lost the LAWeekly and the LAist, two places I used to check regularly for post. Honor the people who bring you high quality news. They bring the light.
Jump in Here
- Welcome. If you haven’t been following along, it’s okay. You’re not behind, you’re just where you are.
- I highly recommend the coach tool at the Crash Override Network has a great step by step break down for many of the same introductory steps we did here.
- Feeling more ambitious? Review the list of OneThing articles and pick one to catch up on.
- Updated software recently? Pick a new device to check on today.
- Backups still up and running? When was the last time you made a clean disk image? Here’s a new great article on how to design a backup system.
- App and Password Gardening: Delete a low quality app from your phone or delete an account that you don’t need that doesn’t make you happy. Digital cruft builds up. Delete it. If you’re keeping it, can you move the password to your password manager (delete it from everywhere else) and add two factor authentication?
- Move to offline archive & delete your histories where you can find them.
- Double check privacy settings on your phone, social media accounts. The folks running the companies can change the TOS and add “features” before you notice them.
- Have you frozen your credit yet?
Where do you scan for news?
- Tatsuo Horiuchi, “The Michelangelo of Microsoft Excel” has been making the rounds this week because of a profile done by Great Big Story. This YouTube channel provides some wonderful stories of people doing wonderful things. In this particular case a retired gentleman decided he wanted to make art, but didn’t want to pay for fancy tools to do it. When he started he gave himself a ten year timespan to make things he’d be proud of. Skills take time, but it’s never too late to start.
- John Looney wrote an article about the importance of psychological safety in tech teams, “the primary indicator of a successful team wasn’t tenure, seniority, or salary levels but psychological safety.” The incomparable Alice Goldfuss recommends it especially for Ops folks.
- Awhile back I recommended folks watch the documentary 13th. If what you saw troubled you, Kortney Ziegler and crew has created an app, Appolition, that provides actual assistance by connecting individuals able to provide bail to black folks who need it. (via @BDPA)
- Free Los Angeles museum days in December (via @CountyofLA)
- Some interesting testimonies before congress this week Matt Blaze (voting machines written | video) and Troy Hunt (data breaches written | video).
- Supreme Court action, on Digital Surveillance, too
- Thinking of running for office? There is a cybersecurity playbook for you now, too!
- I was given some shady, shady advice from T-Mobile the other day. I was complaining about an increase in spam calls and their advice was to install an app by Hiya which would block more calls… but download all my contacts onto their server for them to use in perpetuity?????!!!!! What the heck. How awful. Never do that. It jeopardizes everyone. Also in shady business practices, Expensify farms out receipt processing to the sub-minimum wage workers at Mechanical Turk! This ties directly in to this weeks Note to Self about all the items listening to us now. Contact your state and national legislators to tell them that these kind of egregious privacy breaches ought to be reigned in!
- Apple quickly issued a security patch for the very bad root problem, but then issued a full software update that for some users seemed to reintroduce the flaw. Setting a strong root password (Apple Support | command line) still seems like a good plan.
- Still time to call and leave a message for the FCC supporting Net Neutrality (202) 418-1000, here’s a script. Wanna see if someone already used your name to submit an electronic comment?
- OSH Park is looking for designs to beta test for their new flex board service.
Updated to Add Two Events I missed
- the UCLA All things in Moderation Conference
On December 6-7 2017, UCLA’s Department of Information Studies, part of the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, welcomes participants to a two-day conference on commercial content moderation (CCM) of user-generated social media material.
- Robot Film Festival curated by Andrew McGregor
Feeling dumb or stupid about how not-l33t you are? Angsting over some silly thing you “know better than to do.” Stop. That isn’t useful. Regret is only of use if it prompts an actual change in behavior. Maybe it’s NOT you that sucks. Could be it’s the technology and you could come up with a fix that would help lots of people. Look forward and make a plan.
We are a community. You are a welcome part of it.