Freddy's Notes

Posts too short (or silly) for my blog get put here. Who knows what you'll find?

Email has been discussed a lot lately. Perhaps it's because we all rely on it more during this period of lockdown. Are we all realising that email is an old technology and we need to move on? Whatever the reason may be, people are talking about email, and new projects are cropping up left, right and centre.

The latest one of these is heyyyyyyyyyyyy.com – email with nuance. It is, without a doubt, the best email provider ever.

To start we should figure out what nuance is. According to the Cambridge dictionary:

a quality of something that is not easy to notice but may be important

Now that the definition is out of the way, why should you use heyyyyyyyyyyyy.com? There are a few points that I'm going to focus on:

No ads

No tracking

No promotions

No passwords

No apps

No encryption

No inbox

No customer support

No purpose

No satisfaction

No guarantees

No terms of service

No inverstors

No revenue

No profits

No runaway

No ads

There are no adverts.

No tracking

There is no tracking.

No promotions

There are no promotions.

No passwords

Who needs them anyway?

No apps

It's not as if Hey.com allows you to use email clients.

No encryption

What's that all about anyway?

No inbox

Who even reads emails any more?

No customer support

I've never used it so clearly no one else has either.

No purpose

Yep. This truely has no purpose. [1]

No satisfaction

That's the way (uh-huh uh-huh) I like it.

No guarantees

Arguably a good thing.

No terms of service

Tell me truthfully that you have ever read the entireity of a terms of service? No? Didn't think so.

No inverstors

Who needs funding?

No revenue

It's just a not-for-profit that's all.

No runaway

Literally no runaway.

A few other points

After reading this you may be wondering: what's the catch? Well the answer would be nothing short of $1,200 per year, and also that there are only 200 addresses available.

Conclusion

Email is the most widely used, decentralised online platform. There is no correct way to do email. However there is a wrong way, and this most certainly is it. So why not? Sign up for heyyyyyyyyyyyy.com today!


  1. Nor does this article.

For those who hadn't already figured (somehow), this article is a satire of my article on email, and heyyyyyyyyyyyy.com is obviously a parody of Hey.com

A pile of books has been stacking up on my bedside table and collecting dust. They aren't doing me much use just sitting there so it's high-time I got around to reading them! The problem was motivation, for as much as I love reading, sometimes I prefer to read a blog post/article than a novel – and this has hindered me. Enter '100 Days To Read', a, sort of, follow on from #100DaysToOffload. I'm going to be attempting them at the same time, reading for an hour a day and possibly writing abaout what I read.

Intending to publish considerably earlier, I've already done three days of this challenge. In that time I have finished two books: 'The Reluctant Fundementalist' by Mohsin Hamid (admittedly a short book) and 'Small Island' by Andrea Levy (which I had nearly finished anyway). Both were enjoyable for different reasons and you can expect some brief notes on them in the comming days. Ideally, this should help me remeber what I read for future reference and potentially introduce you into some books that you might want to read in the process?


This was published as a part of of 100 Days To Offload. Find out more by visiting https://100daystooffload.com

Quick reminder, you can still contact your reps to block the Earn It Act if you haven't already! There is another vote coming up soon (7/2/20).

If you haven't already read my article, US Government Wages War on Encryption, then please do so. It makes it clear as to why this act is so devastating for online privacy.

Linked bellow is a site that will allow you to call the right people to enact change. If you are a US citizen, may I ask that you make a call, it doesn't take much of your time but it does make a difference.

Thats all for this one, have a great day!


The site: https://www.noearnitact.org/call/


This was published as a part of of 100 Days To Offload. Find out more by visiting https://100daystooffload.com

George Floyd shouldn't have been killed. It doesn't take a genius to figure that one out. Now people are taking to the streets and rioting, let's talk about that.

Up until the 25th of May, news was focused on the Covid-19 pandemic. As of writing this article, there have been over 400,000 deaths worldwide. Tragically, many people have died and many probably still will die, let's ensure that they aren't forgotten. Covid-19 has shown how unprepared even the most 'advanced' societies can be when a different type of pandemic occurs. The virus seems to have been temporarily forgotten about with the horrific death of George Floyd.

It is clear that when a police service responds to brutality with brutality there is something wrong. Calling the police a service seems far fetched at this point. The problem appears to be rooted when slavery held common place in America. For whatever reason, some people's attitudes haven't changed, and this, in turn, has lead to a frankly broken system. Police brutality is wrong. Life is sacred and change is needed.

In normal times, peaceful protest is one of the best ways to get a point across. Martin Luther King's March on Washington is proof enough of this. But, these aren't normal times. We live in a time where large gatherings can spread a virus that we still don't know enough about. There is no such thing as a socially distanced protest.

Here are the relevant WHO guidelines when it comes to social distancing:

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and others. Why? When someone coughs, sneezes, or speaks they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person has the disease.

Avoid going to crowded places. Why? Where people come together in crowds, you are more likely to come into close contact with someone that has COIVD-19 and it is more difficult to maintain physical distance of 1 metre (3 feet).

(Source: World Health Organisation)

As the images have clearly demonstrated, this simply isn't possible when protesting with such large groups.

Many people have been called racist for not attending these marches. The Oxford English Dictionary defines racism as:

discrimination against people because of their race or belief that a particular race is superior to others

If you die as a result of attending a protest now, you won't be able to fight for equality later. If you care about your health and want to stay at home that is ok. It doesn't automatically make you a racist. At this crucial time, protestors need to cooperate and separate there differences to focus on the shared goal. Calling someone a racist because they don't attend a protest doesn't actually achieve anything. A policeman kneeling on a black person's neck for eight minutes when they aren't resisting arrest is clearly motivated by racism.

Maya Angelou wrote the famous poem 'I know why the caged bird sings'. It describes a bird who has been imprisoned in a cage and sings accordingly. In juxtaposition to this, there is a another bird who lives freely, only thinking about the next breeze. The poem is a metaphor for the privilege that white people in America (and it is probably true across the globe) have in comparison to black people. When we have lost all else, we still have our voices. This is especially true in America, where the First Amendment is valued so strongly. The caged bird sings for freedom.

But a bird that stalks down his narrow cage can seldom see through his bars of rage his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing.

It is important that peoples' voices are heard. Black people have suffered enough and shouldn't have to continue facing the abuse that they clearly do. In the era of social media, we all have a platform to make our voice heard.

Don't go thinking, however, that making a tweet counts as action. On Instagram, the 'blackouttuesday' hashtag was an embarrassment. People seemed to have the impression that by posting a black box, they are defeating racism. This isn't the case. All this hashtag did was to notify a small number of people who were strangely unaware of what was going on. Instagram 'movements' won't solve this issue. If you want to help, it is better to make a donation. If you are in the position where you are financially able to do so then please make one to a reputable organisation like the ACLU.

If, however, you do decide that you need to attend the protest, linked are some things you must do.

There are videos (skip to 1:43) of police clearly causing damage to use it as an excuse for violent measures [1]. To make matters worse, police forces know they can get away with these sorts of attacks.

We don't need to abolish the police. Police exist for a reason. If your house is robbed, you tell the police. Police do not exist to use pepper spray on protestors. Police don't exist to attack reporters for seemingly no reason.

Neil deGrasse Tyson raised some great points in his article, Reflections on the Color of My Skin, such as extending police training on cultural awareness and sensitivity, along with testing officers for implicit bias. Others have suggested that decreasing police funding would correlate to a decrease in police violence. CAMPAIGN ZERO is purposing a 10 step plan which includes demilitarising the police and limiting their use of force. Due to the nature of the problem, the best solution will probably be multiple of these different methods all working in conjunction.

Whatever happens, police need to accept responsibility for their actions. They should be held accountable when they commit a crime, just the like you or I would be. The repercussions also need to be greater when such a crime is committed, losing a job isn't compensation for taking a life. No-one is above the law. Trevor Noah talked about society being a contract: for it to work we all need to uphold it.


  1. – Note: my aim here is not to fuel conspiracy, but 'undercover cops' do exist, its called 'Color of the day'.

I’m publishing this as part of 100 Days To Offload. You can join in yourself by visiting https://100daystooffload.com

#100DaysToOffload – Day 17/100

I started the challenge on the day it was announced. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to start my personal blog, and I wrote a post to reflect this. After posting for 15 consecutive days, I, like Kev, took a day off, which then became the weekend off. A post came on the Monday. Nothing has happened since. For over a week this blog has been stagnant. The rules of #100DaysToOffload were changed so that you only had to write 100 posts per year, not all in a row. This went to my head. Admittedly, I'm much more busy now than I was at the start of the challenge, however I need to start writing again.

There are about five big articles in the works for my main blog, but, I don't see them being finished any time soon (or at least till the end of next week). In the mean time, there are some shorter posts that I might write. Who knows?

Its been fun so far, lets see were it takes us.

I’m publishing this as part of 100 Days To Offload. You can join in yourself by visiting https://100daystooffload.com

#100DaysToOffload – Day 16/100

Your data is everywhere, and nowhere, and you cannot escape it, or what it might yet do to you.

Why should we bother care about our privacy? It requires so much effort. Too much effort. Effort that we just don't have, or want to spend, for the sake of privacy. Almost everyday there is a new scandal concerning Big Tech. As they tip-toe ever closer into our personal lives, we feel as if there is nothing we can do. Or at least nothing that we want to do. Keeping up with all the changes is hard enough, let alone doing something about it. We have to ask ourselves a scary question: “What's the point?”

It's very easy to adopt this ideology of Privacy Nihilism; you don't have to change anything about your everyday lives. A society without privacy is certainly an interesting prospect, potentialy more open than ever before. But privacy matters. While internally we can all accept this (there is a reason why we lock doors) we don't like admitting it to others. When we hear the latest story about GAFAM abusing your privacy we might be horrified yet we chose to do nothing. We allow our rights to deteriorate. If we neglect one of our rights we set a precident for the rest of them to deteriorate too.

We all need privacy to function. It's fundemental to our daily lives. Everyday – perhaps without knowing – we try and protect our privacy. Heck! If you don't care about privacy then go to work naked. You won't. We do care about our privacy, offline at least. Why not also care online?

For the most people, their privacy woes have easy solutions. Your questions have, likely, already been answered. Use the search bar! Privacy can be complicated. Privacy can also be simple.

If you don't want to be spied on by unethical tech companies then fear not, the solutions do exist. This blog contains articles on ways to protect your privacy. Other sites such as Watch Your Hack, Casually Private and ThinkPrivacy are all great resources. If you want more advanced content look no further than PrivacyTools.

It is surprising how few steps it can take to massively increase your privacy. If you haven't already, try and see how many of your apps you can replace with privacy respecting alternatives. If you can't, don't worry. At least you're trying.


This was published as a part of 100 Days To Offload. Find out more by visiting https://100daystooffload.com

My brother has installed over 200 extra apps on his phone. He hasn't used half of them. There are some that 'might come in handy in the future' and some that were installed for the hell of it. You don't need an app for everything, I said.

Apps we use on a daily basis can be replaced with progressive web apps (PWAs); these turn a website into an app on your phone. Do you really need a weather app when a website can do it for you?

F-Droid is a great collection of open source apps that you can install now. Swap your calculator app for an open source version. TheHatedOne made a great tutorial on it.

Do you actually need all your apps? I got rid of half of the apps on my phone and am still trying to get rid of others.

I’m publishing this as part of 100 Days To Offload. You can join in yourself by visiting https://100daystooffload.com

#100DaysToOffload – Day 14/100

Zoom has acquired Keybase. It came as a shock at first; but, it shouldn't surprise us. They have had a rough time with the security and privacy community. Countless articles have cropped up on Zoom's countless problems. From Windows zero-day vulnerabilities to a dangerous Mac exploit and even using the worst form of AES encryption: Zoom has a problem that requires a hefty solution.

This solution is to acquire a company that can improve your encryption for you. (Google has been doing similar things for years.) Keybase is unlikely to grow because cryptography is a niche market; the only users they have don't pay for the product. It is logical for this to have happened. With all the new money Zoom has now that most people are in lockdown, why not use it to improve your biggest flaw?

For Zoom users, this is could be a major advancement. If Keybase implements everything correctly then the security of Zoom calls will hugely increase. For Keybase users, this should have been expected. A centralised platform that relies on closed source servers was bound to have problems. Additionally, the team behind Keybase aren't exactly known for privacy. This was their first venture into the area, and it was most likely because they spotted a gap in the market.

The debate on centralised versus decentralised still continues. Those who used Keybase for messaging will be eager to change platform. Similarly, Keybase initially started as encryption key management tool and many are looking for a replacement. Already many alternatives are emerging: keys.pub, Keyoxide and other decentralised proofs are all interesting options.

The world won't end because of this. It's still unclear as to how Keybase will change because of this. Even so, there are plenty of alternatives including federated options like Element, who announced end-to-end encryption by default. For most, using Element will sufice until Zoom reveals their plans. Nonetheless, it will still be intriguing to see the developments that happen in the coming weeks.


I’m publishing this as part of 100 Days To Offload. You can join in yourself by visiting https://100daystooffload.com

#100DaysToOffload – Day 13/100

No.

If you aren't familiar with Betteridge's law of headlines it is a simple adage:

"Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no."

Hence, this title is indeed satire.

I stumbled across it when I was browsing the web looking for ways to improve my headlines. Recently, they've been rather bland. Take “Newspaper Adverts” for example, how dull and uninspiring does it get?

I wrote about how I'm trying to improve my writing, and seeing as headlines are the first thing you see in an article, it should be a good place to start.

Any suggestions on things to improve would be greatly appreciated.

I’m publishing this as part of 100 Days To Offload. You can join in yourself by visiting https://100daystooffload.com

#100DaysToOffload – Day 11/100

Advertising as we know it became popular in the mid-19th century. People would pay money to put their words on a newspaper that anyone could read. Due to this, adverts on the front of newspapers were extremely varied.

For example, on the same page of any paper you could have one advert for a butcher shop, one advert for cough medicine and one advert for a power spray pump (you can see this exact page for yourself). These products are all unrelated; the only thing that connects them is the sheet of paper. The same cannot be said of the advertising you see online today.

Websites that focus around computers have adverts focused around computers. It is entirely logical. There would be little point advertising the latest computer product on a cooking website, or vise versa. This arangement arguably benefits both the consumer and the retailer. If you see a more relevant product to the one you're looking for then you're more likely to investigate it, and potentially buy it.

However there is a dark side. A part of the reason that these adverts are so accurate is because they are targeted. Personalised just for you. Sounds nice on the surface, but if you look into how this works you soon discover that it isn't. Advertising companies have huge databases that they can use to profile users based on search queries (which can be very revealing). Data is knowledge; knowledge is power.

Modern day adverts don't reflect what advertising used to be about. Instead they use trackers to gain as much information as possible on the unsuspecting user. Analytics track users around the web, recording what sites they've visited and serving ads accordingly. All of this results in a massive loss of privacy. The sole aim is to make money regardless of the ethics of it. If the product is free, you're the product.

Simply put: modern day ads are invasive.

While you could argue that newspaper adverts generate less traffic because they are less targeted, they still work (and continue to do now). People still read newspapers and hence newspaper adverts still exist. It is effective. It does work.

Newspaper adverts never tracked people, nor did they need to. If companies wanted to reach a certain demographic with ads then they chose the right newspaper for their purpose. In some ways, this is how our current system works. But there is a reason why you see adverts for that matress you were looking at yesterday in your searches today, regardless of what they were for.

The model is not flawed, but our attitudes are. The worst bit is that the solution exists. Alternatives to unethical online adverts exist. ethicalads.io is an example that sets out to solve this very problem. These adverts are like newspaper adverts, focused in the same way.

We need to rethink online advertising. If you run a website with ads consider your options. Could donations be viable? Are the adverts we serve putting our users privacy at risk?

The discussion over online advertising needs to be had at some point. Why not start it now?


This was published as a part of of 100 Days To Offload. Find out more by visiting https://100daystooffload.com