Trying out duck duck go’s app tracking protection

Duck duck go's app tracking protection on Android

I was in the queue to get access to the Duck Duck Go’s app tracking protection and yesterday caught a invite on my old Pixel 4 phone.

Its only been one day but you can see above there has been 1650 tracking attempts. Many from Beeper app, which is my instant messaging app of choice. I can forgive them as beeper is under heavy development and segment & functional seems to be a customer/feedback data platforms.
This is similar to Oura and I can see why Google would be tracking as I do connect it to Google Fit anyway.

On the annoying side, Orfi is a app which my volleyball teams have switched to from using facebook events. The Facebook and Google trackers is worry some but its only when the app is open, which isn’t most of the time. Likewise the Philips Hue app tracking is annoying, as I do have that open a lot for controlling my lights. Plume is a tricky one but I will look through the settings to see if there is something which could be turned off.

Frankly its all really interesting to see and funny enough, the battery life of my Pixel 6 has completely changed. Usually its at about 75% after a day but today its at 85%. Not much different but the apps using the most battery power has completely changed.

Of course this is all after one day, so I expect I’ll see what happens over time and likely write a follow up.

Duck Duck Go are on fire and we need to see more of this…

 

A review of my 2021 resolutions

Mountain ride

2021 has been a tricky year there is has been so much going on. I was going to round it up as 2 jabs and a blood test but now that’s 3 jabs and a blood test. I’m also expecting next year it will be 2 more jabs and a blood test. I’m still not comfortable with injections and really look forward to when the world is vaccinated (yeah maybe 2024).

From a  Quantified Self data  point of view it looked like this.

  • My average sleep duration has stay consistent at 7hours 50mins.  Deep sleep dropped from 4.35hrs to 3.50hrs.
  • This year I started moving away from Gmail, so the numbers make sense. I had 32,601 conversations, have 20718 emails in my inbox and sent 7841 emails this year.
  • Have 114,564 photos and 4,269 photos albums in Google photos.
  • Tasks wise I switched from Google tasks to todolist.txt and have 148 open tasks and completed 1,919 over the year
  • Been to a few places in 2021 including Manchester, Liverpool, Blackpool, London, Alton towers, Bristol, Bath, Weston, Tetbury, Sheffield, Leeds this year. This is on top of the places I went to during the common area holiday (Carlisle, Stranraer, Belfast, Derry, Ballycastle, Giants Causeway, Newcastle, Dublin, Holyhead, Chester).
  • According to Trakt, my most played show is Real time with Bill Maher and Last week tonight with Jon Oliver. Film wise it was Zack Snyder’s Justice League which surprises me. Most listened to podcast is the Daily Tech News Show again.
  • I watched 760 hours of media and added 510 items that is a lot, but understandable. I also read 647 articles via Wallabag.

Myself working in a coffee shop

Here’s my review of 2021’s resolutions.

  1. Live in another country for a short while
    Not happened yet, but who knows maybe 2022 will be the start? There was some good news that BBC employees can now finally travel abroad and can work in another country for about 2 weeks. Main objection for more seemed to be around tax. With a digital nomad visa, tax wouldn’t be such problem depending on where I go. Of course this is completely new territory for me and likely the company. It needs a lot of work to happen smoothly.
  2. Head further a field with the scooter
    Regardless of the pandemic, I actually drove to Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland (Europe) and then Wales before back to England. The common travel no less. All over 4 days by scooter (and ferry of course). It was actually quite straight forward but had AA cover just in-case. I also did a new country, Northern Ireland and drove in Europe which are usually in my resolutions. It was amazing and the weather held up nicely throughout.
  3. Take better care of my skin.
    Finally switched away from Vaseline to CeraVe, and I’ll be honest my skin does feel less thirsty for moisture.
  4. Step up my gratitude’s
    I created a small wordpress site on my raspberry pi just for daily gratitudes. It works quite well, I can duplicate a entry and change the details. As its wordpress I can do it from the web or via the app on my phone. Thought about using the email to post but theres little need for it right now.
    I did notice wordpress’s jetpack started to give me rewards notifications for blogging every day. Of course I turned that crap off quickly because it felt like Snapchat streaks.
  5. Host more film nights and dinner parties
    Like last year for obvious reasons, this was still tricky but there were a few small dinners and a cocktail night. Although there was a second degree dinner of some kind recently, and no one got Covid19..
  6. Spend even more time with the Diabolo
    This has come a long massively, I even bought a fire diabolo and upped my LED kits for the firejams. When I did travel, I did pack a small diabolo and even collapsible sticks.. The fire diabolo is scary as hell but I’m tempted to upgrade to the lighter and geared version, as it would allow me to do much more tricks with fire.Diabolo spinning top
  7. Send a email out to friends and family once or twice a year
    This sits on my task list and haven’t done anything about it yet. I see emails from friends like Brian and Mark, which spurs me to have a look again.
  8. Self host and move to more decentralised/fediverse services.
    I’m quite enjoying self hosting again. Its something I did with my blog a long time ago but then updates were a pain (heck I was using Windows 2000 server!). Now with Yunohost, I have auto update on because everything is backed up regularly. As most of the services are simple, its not a big problem. I have kept public facing services on the Raspberry Pi and private ones on my NAS only accessible via VPNs. running on the NAS. The RaspberryPi with Yunohost is a great platform for self-hosting.
    Generally I am using a lot more decentralised and fediverse services daily. Be it Matrix bridges via Beeper which bridges almost everything. I mainly post to Mastdon and cross post to Twitter. My volleyball teams have finally moved away from Facebook to a app called Orfi. Meaning I’m spending even less time on Facebook and I did un-follow almost everyone and everything (not that I looked at the timeline anyway).
  9. Find an alternative to the pebble watch
    T
    wo things have happened.
    First up I tried to fix the buttons which is the biggest problem. I bought some 3D printed shapeway buttons to replace the broken ones. This worked but the 3D printed ones are so delicate, that I pretty much broke one of the two I bought. Even a friend with smaller fingers found it very difficult. So I have left it for now.
    The second thing I did was kickstarted the Bangle.js 2 smartwatch which runs completely on Javascript. I haven’t done much with it yet…
    Bangle.js smartwatch
  10. Listen to a Audiobook every month.
    I almost done this with 10 out of 12 audio books. I spent maybe too much time listening to podcasts I feel plus I started 3 other audiobooks but haven’t completed them. I don’t know if I will finish 2 of them as its not that interesting.
  11. Take a more political & strategic view on the status quo
    I have taken a more political view, especially around diversity & inclusion. Talking to many different people in real terms without jumping to conclusions is something I have done pretty well with gentle humor and  sensitivity. More for next year I think.
  12. Finish my dating book
    I have actually been working quite hard on the book. I did say something about it previously. In short Hannah who such a great writer and editor (you should really hire her!) rewrote so much, then I convinced Valeska, who came with a fresh and a different perspective to edit and restructure it. Another friend Angie offered a ton of useful information and ultimately pointed me towards the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbooks.
    Looking through the contacts in the ebook version, I picked a number of publishers, agents and publishers who could be interested in the dating book. I’m giving it a try before I go down the self publish route (which I’m edging towards as I have a lot of the skills, contacts and knowledge needed to publish it myself).

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Nov 2021)

Digital Nomad

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed hearing about decentralized blogging, reading through the twitter thread of underacted google & facebook advertising complaint and of course  Facebook and its effect on gen-z with yet another whistle blower leaving the sinking ship.

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this with seeing John Oliver covering misinformation outside the English language, some young people questioning our capitalistic society, Mozfest 2022’s call for proposal and experiencing unified messaging on my devices


Personal data stores in the lime light

Ian thinks: Wired do a reasonable job explain some of the benefits, there are a lot more important aspects of personal data stores than beating others, like sovereignty and trust. Said as someone who worked on related work in the past.

The future of social networks with James Vasile

Ian thinks: James is a seasoned expert in this space and this interview is good covering a lot of ground including Project liberty’s DSNP. Even if you are new to this space, its accessible and understandable.

Visa & Mastercard regulate the internet by stealth?

Ian thinks: No matter what you think of adult sites, there is a complicated problem which should not be left companies which are only interested in maximising their own profits.

Misinformation works in all languages

Ian thinks: Its good to see mainstream John Oliver covering the huge problem of dis/misinformation outside the English language. Also great to see them not jump to the conclusion encryption is the problem.

The clear amplification of social media

Ian thinks: Adrian’s kickback is something I wasn’t super aware of but its a clear sign of the massive amplification of social media for good and bad, depending where you stand.

Digital nomadic dreams and border-less countries

Ian thinks: Although the digital nomad lifestyle is something I am personally interested in, I think the notion of Plumia is a worrying trend of a new kind of digital elite dream. Which needs to be put in check before it runs wild.

The mystery of Satoshi bitcoin creator, solved?

Ian thinks: I have to say this is the best case for the mystery of Satoshi (the creator of bitcoin). Recently it looks like his wallet has been used too?

Facebook: a little empty, a little sad; a place where a few voices get most of the attention

Ian thinks: Although turning your Facebook timeline back into a timeline doesn’t even start to touch the fundamental problems. I loved the end quote, which speaks volumes.

NFTs challenging the status quo

Ian thinks: Beyond the hype, scams and general nonsense. I am seeing signs of NFTs being used to genuinely disrupt the status-quo. From the portability of bought in game goods, new models of film making and of course the new NFT royalties standard.


Find the archive here

Beeper makes Matrix bridges into a business model

After the long wait and some wonder if anything was going to happen. On Monday I got my invite to join a very small number of people on Beeper.

I am impressed…

I thought I had a blog post about Beeper but I didn’t write one. So in short this picture sums up Beeper in one go.

Beeper bridges

Imagine if you could use one client to access all these different networks, but unlike pidgin or trillian which needs software plugins to connect to them all. Beeper is actually a Matrix client which connects to specific Matrix bridges (server based, instead of client based) to other messaging networks.

Its one of the thing which blew me away when I saw Matrix at Mozfest 2017.

Matrix is open source and you can run it on your own infrastructure (we will get back to that soon). You can even install your own bridges.

In short Beeper is the Matrix dream in a managed service which you pay $10 a month. You can self host it and its something I may do after a while but right now I’m happy to give some money to get use to things

First thing I did is install the appimage for Linux, set it up using the code I had received via email. Then setup a few networks. Within a few minutes I was replying to friends

I tested Slack using Storyteller United and was quite impressed, although I ended up disabling it due to the amount of channels and how busy the slack can be.

I may enable it again for a few slacks I am part of but don’t want the whole of slack on. Currently I have the Slack app on my laptop and work phone but I like the idea of the messaging parts without the heavy slack app.

I noticed you can input Gifs, emoji’s, attachments, etc in almost every single message in a unified way. I haven’t hooked up my SMS yet (mainly because there is no RCS bridge yet which I would miss). I also would like to see scheduling as I’m so use to it now.

Of course the phone interface for beeper is similar, Gif and all. You can use the unified inbox which puts everything in one timeline. The spaces cuts everything by network.

To be frank, Beeper is impressive and if I could change a few things they would be.the ability to have multiple accounts. For example I would love to be able to finally have one client for the multiple Signal accounts (I have one for my personal and work mobiles). This might be a limitation of Signal, but it would be great if I could spin up 2 bridges. I say this as I added 2 slack accounts and could add more with ease.

Right now Beeper is very much work in progress, but its got most of the key features.  I don’t feel like I have fully added the networks yet as I hold on to apps like Android messages due to RCS and scheduled messages. I could add Twitter and Discord but I’m quite happy with my Mastodon clients and cross posting to Twitter. Although I might hook up my ianforrester account on twitter just to see what its like in beeper. I even consider setting up Telegram, i-message, etc accounts just because I can now without the stress.

I forgot, Beeper doesn’t replace the existing messaging systems, meaning when I finally hooked up Android messages, I can still send scheduled messages and RCS from the app. But reply and send general messages from Beeper.

The network diagram at the very top is actually slight wrong because Beeper sits within the Matrix network and once I understood this via the support channel. It became clear I could easily share things between all my mobiles and laptop with ease. Bit like how I use Signal’s personal space/notes to yourself. I haven’t tried connecting to any of the Matrix systems I’m part of like publicspaces, sdeps or redecentralise. But I’ll give it a try over the next few days.

I like Beeper, but do long to setup my own bridges in a docker container or rasberrypi in the near future. Is 10$ a month quite a bit expensive for this? Maybe but only because I am still getting use to it and not fully using it. I think if I was using it for everything, 10$ a month would great value. Its a good business model, as most won’t or can’t run their own bridge server. (I have already looked to see if Yuno host has support or not)

I look forward to the regular updates and seeing it mature into something unique.



Funny enough I heard Beeper on Twit.TV’s all about android too. The person who wrote in didn’t blur any of his conversations and contacts which I would say is super brave or not thinking things fully through? However its interesting to see someone else also using Beeper and the reaction to it from people not fully aware of